T Nation

Torn Meniscus

recently tore my meniscus, wondering if any of you strength athletes have been in this situation. the idea of not squatting/pulling leaves me pissed but wondering if anyone can offer any advice. doc says upper body is good to go. just a vent. thanks

Low impact exercises?
Biking or swimming.

The doc is full of it! A torn meniscus should not hold you back from your training one bit. My junior year in college I tore my minuscus in my right knee. I was a shot putter/Hammer Thrower. I tore it in my first outdoor meet and continued to train and compete from March until June. I squatted a touch under 6 bills and was Power cleaning in the mid 300s at the time. Every once a while it would flare up, but it was nothing a little Motrin couldn’t help. Flare ups were pretty much just a little pain and some pressure. No swelling accompanied my flares. Ice and motrin will keep that in check. Your ability to train hard is all up to you and your tolerance to pain. Get good warm ups before work outs and ice like crazy afterwards. It’ll probably take some time to build confidence in the knee, but you should do fine.

Fixing the meniscus is a piece of cake as well. I’ve had two scopes of different tears and both times returned to squatting (light weight) in exactly one week. I actually re-tore my right knee about a year ago and never had it worked on. I took time off (one week) and my knee started feeling better when I started squatting again. I have no problems with this one. A torn meniscus is an extremely common injury. You will be fine.

J

[quote]justhrowit wrote:
The doc is full of it! A torn meniscus should not hold you back from your training one bit. My junior year in college I tore my minuscus in my right knee. I was a shot putter/Hammer Thrower. I tore it in my first outdoor meet and continued to train and compete from March until June. I squatted a touch under 6 bills and was Power cleaning in the mid 300s at the time. Every once a while it would flare up, but it was nothing a little Motrin couldn’t help. Flare ups were pretty much just a little pain and some pressure. No swelling accompanied my flares. Ice and motrin will keep that in check. Your ability to train hard is all up to you and your tolerance to pain. Get good warm ups before work outs and ice like crazy afterwards. It’ll probably take some time to build confidence in the knee, but you should do fine.

Fixing the meniscus is a piece of cake as well. I’ve had two scopes of different tears and both times returned to squatting (light weight) in exactly one week. I actually re-tore my right knee about a year ago and never had it worked on. I took time off (one week) and my knee started feeling better when I started squatting again. I have no problems with this one. A torn meniscus is an extremely common injury. You will be fine.

J [/quote]

Thats nice that it didnt stop you however everybody is different and the place where you have torn your meniscus will have a big impact on what you can and cant do.
For example if its a posterior meniscus tear on either the lateral or medial one then deep squatting will isolate the tear and cause problems. Also the medial meniscus posteriorly attaches to the ACL so you will need to be careful not to let this complicate things even more.

Usually it takes about 6 weeks for healing and depending on the state of things in your knee but my advice is just find out abit more about where the tear is and take it from there.
Dont be inclined to use somebody elses history and use their rehab etc.

I dont like 1/4 squats but it may be an option for a while depending on your tear. Low impact stuff to begin with to give the meniscus a chance to heal and then impact stuff suuch as plyometrics has actually been proven to improve the cartilaginous structure of the meniscus according to Mel Siff s supertraining book.

Hope this helps. I have dealt with alot of menisus patients in my short time as a physio.

barrs and throwit, i appreciate your responses and it provides confidence for me because it is feeling much better however i will continue with PT as of now and find a bit more and see what u guys think.

[quote]barrs1985 wrote:
justhrowit wrote:
The doc is full of it! A torn meniscus should not hold you back from your training one bit. My junior year in college I tore my minuscus in my right knee. I was a shot putter/Hammer Thrower. I tore it in my first outdoor meet and continued to train and compete from March until June. I squatted a touch under 6 bills and was Power cleaning in the mid 300s at the time. Every once a while it would flare up, but it was nothing a little Motrin couldn’t help. Flare ups were pretty much just a little pain and some pressure. No swelling accompanied my flares. Ice and motrin will keep that in check. Your ability to train hard is all up to you and your tolerance to pain. Get good warm ups before work outs and ice like crazy afterwards. It’ll probably take some time to build confidence in the knee, but you should do fine.

Fixing the meniscus is a piece of cake as well. I’ve had two scopes of different tears and both times returned to squatting (light weight) in exactly one week. I actually re-tore my right knee about a year ago and never had it worked on. I took time off (one week) and my knee started feeling better when I started squatting again. I have no problems with this one. A torn meniscus is an extremely common injury. You will be fine.

J

Thats nice that it didnt stop you however everybody is different and the place where you have torn your meniscus will have a big impact on what you can and cant do.
For example if its a posterior meniscus tear on either the lateral or medial one then deep squatting will isolate the tear and cause problems. Also the medial meniscus posteriorly attaches to the ACL so you will need to be careful not to let this complicate things even more.

Usually it takes about 6 weeks for healing and depending on the state of things in your knee but my advice is just find out abit more about where the tear is and take it from there.
Dont be inclined to use somebody elses history and use their rehab etc.

I dont like 1/4 squats but it may be an option for a while depending on your tear. Low impact stuff to begin with to give the meniscus a chance to heal and then impact stuff suuch as plyometrics has actually been proven to improve the cartilaginous structure of the meniscus according to Mel Siff s supertraining book.

Hope this helps. I have dealt with alot of menisus patients in my short time as a physio.[/quote]

Obviously, your way more educated (medically speaking) than I am. The particular tear I had was both a medial and lateral tears of the meniscus, and thats all I remember. Was it a posterior tear… I have no idea. I don’t recall ever being given that information. I was under the impression that a meniscus tear is just that, and their was no tear worse or better than another. I can remember actually being told that if I tore it more, it would not affect it or make it worse, so just train to your pain tollerance. You hear all the old world stories about the east Germans removing an athlete’s meniscus before they had the chance to tear it in the first place. Of course, when reading and hearing stories of the old German and Soviet athletes you never can really tell what is B.S, folklore, or truth.

Can a meniscus tear actually heal by itself without surgery, or am I reading more into your post than I should be? Or is surgery required to either remove the pieces or to sew it back up? You never actual mention any procedures in your post, just the healing and recovery process. I will say that after my first meniscus surgery, I rushed back into squatting. It wasn’t because I wasn’t ready because I was under coach and trainer supervision for the recovery. I think mentally I wasn’t ready and didn’t have the confidence I needed yet. I tended to squat while favoring the repaired knee and developed some pain in the other knee and hip after about a month. That was fast corrected when I realized what was happening. It’s been about 7 years since my first tear and they opted to just cut it out chunk by chunk. Perhaps new and improved procedures are around now?

[quote]justhrowit wrote:
barrs1985 wrote:
justhrowit wrote:
The doc is full of it! A torn meniscus should not hold you back from your training one bit. My junior year in college I tore my minuscus in my right knee. I was a shot putter/Hammer Thrower. I tore it in my first outdoor meet and continued to train and compete from March until June. I squatted a touch under 6 bills and was Power cleaning in the mid 300s at the time. Every once a while it would flare up, but it was nothing a little Motrin couldn’t help. Flare ups were pretty much just a little pain and some pressure. No swelling accompanied my flares. Ice and motrin will keep that in check. Your ability to train hard is all up to you and your tolerance to pain. Get good warm ups before work outs and ice like crazy afterwards. It’ll probably take some time to build confidence in the knee, but you should do fine.

Fixing the meniscus is a piece of cake as well. I’ve had two scopes of different tears and both times returned to squatting (light weight) in exactly one week. I actually re-tore my right knee about a year ago and never had it worked on. I took time off (one week) and my knee started feeling better when I started squatting again. I have no problems with this one. A torn meniscus is an extremely common injury. You will be fine.

J

Thats nice that it didnt stop you however everybody is different and the place where you have torn your meniscus will have a big impact on what you can and cant do.
For example if its a posterior meniscus tear on either the lateral or medial one then deep squatting will isolate the tear and cause problems. Also the medial meniscus posteriorly attaches to the ACL so you will need to be careful not to let this complicate things even more.

Usually it takes about 6 weeks for healing and depending on the state of things in your knee but my advice is just find out abit more about where the tear is and take it from there.
Dont be inclined to use somebody elses history and use their rehab etc.

I dont like 1/4 squats but it may be an option for a while depending on your tear. Low impact stuff to begin with to give the meniscus a chance to heal and then impact stuff suuch as plyometrics has actually been proven to improve the cartilaginous structure of the meniscus according to Mel Siff s supertraining book.

Hope this helps. I have dealt with alot of menisus patients in my short time as a physio.

Obviously, your way more educated (medically speaking) than I am. The particular tear I had was both a medial and lateral tears of the meniscus, and thats all I remember. Was it a posterior tear… I have no idea. I don’t recall ever being given that information. I was under the impression that a meniscus tear is just that, and their was no tear worse or better than another. I can remember actually being told that if I tore it more, it would not affect it or make it worse, so just train to your pain tollerance. You hear all the old world stories about the east Germans removing an athlete’s meniscus before they had the chance to tear it in the first place. Of course, when reading and hearing stories of the old German and Soviet athletes you never can really tell what is B.S, folklore, or truth.

Can a meniscus tear actually heal by itself without surgery, or am I reading more into your post than I should be? Or is surgery required to either remove the pieces or to sew it back up? You never actual mention any procedures in your post, just the healing and recovery process. I will say that after my first meniscus surgery, I rushed back into squatting. It wasn’t because I wasn’t ready because I was under coach and trainer supervision for the recovery. I think mentally I wasn’t ready and didn’t have the confidence I needed yet. I tended to squat while favoring the repaired knee and developed some pain in the other knee and hip after about a month. That was fast corrected when I realized what was happening. It’s been about 7 years since my first tear and they opted to just cut it out chunk by chunk. Perhaps new and improved procedures are around now?

[/quote]

Ive actually been in a ACL reconstruction with the removal of bits of the mensicus. And when i see patients post op from knee arthroscopys there is always the arthroscopic pics available.
You are right in that they remove bits of loose pieces etc. There are different types of tears in the meniscus, buckle handle etc. It depends on the type n the amount really.
Meniscus is cartilage and can heal like everything else in the body if given the appropriate time frame. IF the meniscus is in tatters n getting caught up and causing to knee to lock, then they will have to have an arthroscopy and remove the bits and washout the knees.
Im sure you probably know but meniscus tears can leave your leg in locking and a feeling of giving away also.

Basically your mensicus just avoids the bones on top and bottom from grinding each other. It is also a shock absorber. If that wasnt there you would have serious arthritis type pain.
The main contradindication my usual knee consultant refers patients is that when it is a posterior tear is to avoid full knee flexion for a bit.
But this is the UK and im not sure whether consultants in the US will have the same view if you get my drift.

Hope this helps. But you are right in saying that a meniscus injury may not be that big a deal if torn in an appropriate place. Just need to be careful of the posterior tears due to the attachment of the ACL aswell. You can actually You tube a knee arthroscopy and im sure youl see it been done! Bit hard to follow if you dont know what your looking at though! I get confused at times looking at those! Thank god the surgeon was explaining to me!

if it is before surgery, do alot of cycling and get your muscles surrounding your knee as strong as possible to make up for the atrophy that will occur after surgery. Do light weight and alot of reps. Just make sure you don’t hurt your knee any more. If an exercise hurts (bad hurt), then stop. The better shape you are in before the surgery, the faster you will recover. Don’t pay attention to people who say you can or can’t train on a torn meniscus. Every injury is different. It depends on the location and degree of the tear. My first meniscus tear, I could do quite a bit on because there were no loose bodies getting caught in my knee. My second one would always lock up and gave me a bunch of problems because a piece of meniscus broke of in my knee. Stick to post-surgery therapy… every day with no exceptions. and push yourself hard. You can push extremely hard on a bike and with very little to no weight. Then work up from there. And be smart about it so you don’t injure your knee later. I recovered fully in 3 weeks with both knees. So recovery isn’t long. Massage your scar tissue after the incisions heal also. You def don’t need all that excess tissue getting in the way of being active.

Funny this thread pops up right now, as I’m going to the physical therapist tomorrow, suspecting a medial torn meniscus. I can squat rock bottom with no trouble, but when I try to dunk a basketball my knee begins to hurt after 5-10 attempts. I’m at my strongest ever when it comes to squatting, so in case of meniscus tear, do you all think I’d have a fast rehab when I’m in need of an operation?

[quote]arnoud verschoor wrote:
Funny this thread pops up right now, as I’m going to the physical therapist tomorrow, suspecting a medial torn meniscus. I can squat rock bottom with no trouble, but when I try to dunk a basketball my knee begins to hurt after 5-10 attempts. I’m at my strongest ever when it comes to squatting, so in case of meniscus tear, do you all think I’d have a fast rehab when I’m in need of an operation?

[/quote]

Why do you suspect it is a menicus problem? Obviously without seen you sounds like basic anterior knee pain, especially with your inner range quads as my reasoning would be that you jump using inner range quads.

Mike Boyle wrote a really good article on anterior knee pain, not sure if its on this website but its on his own free to download in pdf format.

Let us know how u get on tomorrow! This could be a nice thread for meniscus pain if it is a meniscus problem.

You two could also post your rehab on this thread! I know someone is doing something similiar on an ACL thread in this section!

Two of the tests i use to diagnose meniscus injuries is the McMurrays:


*When i test this test i have the hip in more flexion and really emphasis the full knee flexion also. The man on this video is not as aggressive as ive been thought to test this specific test.

The second test i use is the Apley’s Test.


Again when testing you need to really make the two bones above and below compress on each other to make the meniscus do its job (or not do its jobs in postive cases of pain).

The other symptom commonly noted is joint line pain although this does not specifically incur it to be meniscus, can be a number of things.

Hope this will help get the thread going! Its a quite common injury and id definetly love to hear peoples histories and rehab and hopefully learn something more.

Well I sure hope it’s anterior knee pain instead of a torn meniscus, but what makes you say that? The pain is clearly on the medial side. Though I must admit I don’t have other torn meniscus symptoms (full knee flexion hurts, palpating the medial area hurts), I’m curious what else it could be. I will definetely try the exercises on that article from Mike Boyle. Thanks!

 I am a long time T-Nation reader but this is my first post.  I just visited a doctor today for what I now suspect is a meniscus injury.  I began having a sore knee in December and I kept taking breaks from running, but it still hurts.  Pain is like a dull bruise when I touch the interior portion of my knee.  It also hurts after I run.  I am able to squat, one-leg squat, deadlift, etc, but I only seem to have problems running.

 Doctor is going to schedule me for an MRI so I'll keep everyone posted.

 I am a track athlete and I was planning on playing semi-pro football this year until this flared up. Any feedback from anyone would be appreciated.  There is nothing worse than being injured and not knowing what the hell is wrong.

Well, I didn’t have torn meniscus! Appley, McMurray and two other tests were all negative. He did conclude I was stiff as a board, but that was nothing new to me. I want to give the exercises mentioned by Mike Boyle (the anterior knee pain article) a try, maybe this will help.

Good news Arnoud. I hope the result is the same for me. I have an MRI scheduled for Monday so we shall see. I actually don’t have much pain today and I ran a half-mile with no pain, but stopped so I didn’t press myself too much. The doctor played around with my knee and there was no pain at all until he bent it as far back as possible and I felt some pain.

I hope the best for you, good luck!

Good news for me too. I just got the MRI results back and the doctor says there is no tear in the meniscus. There is, however, inflammation present and they told me to consult an orthopedist.

Obviously I am glad there is no tear, but now I have no idea how to treat this inflammation. I haven’t run in weeks, instead only using the bike and the elliptical. If any professionals, like barrs1985, have advice, it would be greatly appreciated.

[quote]lawyer400meters wrote:
Good news for me too. I just got the MRI results back and the doctor says there is no tear in the meniscus. There is, however, inflammation present and they told me to consult an orthopedist.

Obviously I am glad there is no tear, but now I have no idea how to treat this inflammation. I haven’t run in weeks, instead only using the bike and the elliptical. If any professionals, like barrs1985, have advice, it would be greatly appreciated.[/quote]

Hi there,

sorry have been busy at present. In relation to your previous question, i didnt think it was a meniscus problem as u mentioned due to it not sounding like a classical subjective history really.

Im not sure of your exact symptoms which would always pave the way for my treatments etc. But if you have a decreased range of movement due to the inflamation then that defo needs to be addressed. If its acute swelling then ice is good but if its been there a while as you have (im guessing) then contrast baths as we call them are good. Basically five minutes of heat from a wheat bag and then five minutes of ice pack or cold peas etc and repeat two to three times! Best to apply this to the joint line area ish whichever meniscus it is, medial or lateral.

As for rehab wise again it depends on what has weakened, what muscles have tightened to protect the specific mechanism of injury etc, its too difficult to say over the internet really. the VMO muscle is the main knee stabiliser so it would prob not do too much damage to start strengthening that.

But basically ul need to have a look at whats tight, whats weak and to be honest i agree that u need a physio to take a look if its bothering you.

Sorry i cant be more specific but i wouldnt like to tell you to do something that may not be optimal treatment for you. Every patient is different. As i said tho mike boyles article is quite impressive and im sure it may be of some benefit.

Keep your activity level as high as you can, lose fat if you have to and control inflammaton. I tore one in early 07 and I’m waiting for a second surgery to remove a residual tear and 2 meniscal kysts, I have to wait a long time before the second one because of pulmonary embolism, hope you’r luckier than me ! Good luck.

its great to see this as a topic of interest. been week 3 of PT and now can walk up stairs with both feet however the way down is always 1 foot at a time. got a few more weeks of this then back for re-evaluation. been doing a lot of cycling as isnt bothersome too much.

Recently read an article which said torn meniscus has very little proof to be treatable on PT alone. Also, figured that my tear is to a horn tear and hope it is only a slight tear due to the recovery time vs repair vs a slight tear.

Anyone have any comments? i read (not that i believe everything i read) that a meniscus repair is 4-6 months opposed to a removal of the tear which is 4-6 weeks.