just a girl
haven't been able to walk without pain since august - meniscus 4/9/2009 4:52PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
posting this here on a pretty crap night in hope of some positive stories.

as the title shows i haven't been able to walk pain free since august, firstly from one injury and then since october with my knees.

am currently waiting for surgery to fix a torn meniscus but not sure if this is the right route to go. i've only had 4 weeks off running (was down to low mileage), bc i was told repeatedly (and wrongly) it was fine to keep running on it (this was before a scan revealed the tear). some things i've read say to give it more time and see if it heals as once they taken some out you can never get it back. some things say to go for it asap. i don't understand which is right!

i'm so severely fed up of not being able to carry out a normal life, no driving, it's gotten to the point now i can't walk very far at all.

anyone have any stories of recovery from this?
some runner...
RE: haven't been able to walk without pain since august - meniscus 4/9/2009 5:30PM - in reply to just a girl Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Torn meniscus are a dime a dozen. You're right in considering the ramifications of knee surgery. Basically how big the tear is will determine whether or not they do a menisectomy (take the damaged portion out) or just repair the tear. If they take it out, the plus side is that you'll be running again sooner, but will be more injury prone in that knee and likely to get arthritis when you get older. So they avoid doing that in younger and more active patients. If they repair the tear, the rehab is much longer, but your knee will likely return to being fine. If you want a success story, Kara Goucher would be a good starting point. Both are very common procedures and your running days won't be over. I got a meniscus repair during my collegiate running days (just finished eligibility) and was out for around 12 weeks (post-op) but then had my best final track and xc seasons I'd ever had. It was a frustrating comeback, but temporary frustration ended up being outweighed because it was worth it and at this point I can't really tell that the knee was ever injured.
some runner...
RE: haven't been able to walk without pain since august - meniscus 4/9/2009 5:38PM - in reply to some runner... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I forgot to add that yeah it really sucks to be in this tight spot, but it's not one of those things that just fixes itself (only a really small area of the meniscus actually has the ability to repair itself, and go figure but tears hardly ever happen in that area), it'd be best to just go ahead a do it. A knee scope is not a huge procedure, I was walking again (although ungracefully) less than two days after.
some runner...
RE: haven't been able to walk without pain since august - meniscus 4/9/2009 5:38PM - in reply to some runner... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I forgot to add that yeah it really sucks to be in this tight spot, but it's not one of those things that just fixes itself (only a really small area of the meniscus actually has the ability to repair itself, and go figure but tears hardly ever happen in that area), it'd be best to just go ahead a do it. A knee scope is not a huge procedure, I was walking again (although ungracefully) less than two days after.
just a girl
RE: haven't been able to walk without pain since august - meniscus 4/14/2009 7:31AM - in reply to some runner... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I still haven't decided but have weighed up what you said. I feel like I've been disabled since August so getting back to normal life function is the main thing I want, running is secondary now. I think maybe it's worth trying 2 months off before the surgery but like you say it might not heal itself anyway. What a mess!
drunk runner
RE: haven't been able to walk without pain since august - meniscus 4/14/2009 8:40AM - in reply to just a girl Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
If you opt for the surgery, start rehabbing the knee before the surgery. You'll come back quicker.
some runner.....
RE: haven't been able to walk without pain since august - meniscus 4/14/2009 9:39AM - in reply to drunk runner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I know what you mean. I messed around with my knee injury for 11 months (took of a ton of time, then would try running, it'd come right back, etc). finally just caved. i agree with the above poster too, get it as strong as you can (quads and hams specifically) before you do it. i really think that if you do it you'll be pretty happy with the result once the dust settles and you get back into it. i'm no doc, just speaking from experience.
lohalloran
RE: haven't been able to walk without pain since august - meniscus 4/14/2009 10:05AM - in reply to just a girl Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Chances are it will not heal on its own. As someone said earlier, only a small portion of the mensicus actually gets blood flow which allows it to heal.

I've had three knee surgeries and my advice is to get it done. It's a minor procedure and they will likely have you bearing weight right away.

There are two different types of surgery, repair and removal.

Repair is favorable because it will involve actually stitching the torn piece back together and "scuffing" up the area around the tear to create some bleeding and scarring so it fuses back together as the stitches melt away. The downside of this is that you will not be able to run for 3 months and will not be able to flex your knee past 90 degrees for the first month. Cross training is also out until the flexion restrictions are lifted by your doctor. But at the same time you lose no cartilidge so you don't have to worry about arthritis or anything later in life.

Removal involves cutting out or shaving down the torn area. Depending on yoru tear this could be literally a tiny shave job or removal of 50% or more of the mensicus. This of course increases the risk of arthritis later in life, but having the tear does as well, so you might as well just have the surgery and be pain free for as long as possible. This is a quick heal. You can start rehab right away with no restrictions and some people run in as few as 2 weeks. 4-6 is more likely if you are a slower healer. But you will be able to cross train in the meantime.

As for recovery, your will have to rehab both differently. If you get the repair and rehab well you will feel 100% soon after 3 months and the knee won't feel different once it is healed. If you have it removed you can run in 2-4 weeks but it will take the better part of 6-12 months before the knee starts to feel "normal" again. This is because the newly exposed articular cartilidge needs time to smooth down a bit. The knee will always feel a bit different compared to the other one but in both cases you can return to running with no problem. After 3 surgeries I am still setting PR's and running more mileage than ever.
just a girl
RE: haven't been able to walk without pain since august - meniscus 4/16/2009 8:53AM - in reply to lohalloran Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks for the info. Yes - my main worry about surgery is the risk of arthritis in the future, that's what I'm concerned about, but if I leave it alone that might happen anyway like you say. I would prefer to have a repair but not sure if this is an option.