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Recovery time from meniscus repair?

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Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:23 am

Back in October, I'm pretty sure I tore a meniscus when I twisted my knee while downclimbing something. I had all the symptoms, and to this day, there is the functionality but the constant ache in the right spot symptomatic of a meniscus tear.

Like the typical man, I have so far failed to go see a doctor, pretending that things would take care of themselves, but it's time to be realistic.

So here's my question to anyone who has had a meniscus tear: after the surgery, how long did it take until your knee was fully functional again?

I ask this because the earliest I'll get in for surgery will be sometime in January, more likely February, and I am planning a hiking/climbing trip for early April. Right now, I am okay with moderate hiking and climbing (haven't pushed it past that). The next time after that I'll seriously need my knee will be in mid-July.

Any good feedback is much appreciated.
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby MarkDidier » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:19 am

Good luck with that Bob! Unfortunately I think it's time for me to see a Doc for my knee. Starting to worry that it could be a meniscus issue as well. I aggravated my knee 3 weeks ago ref'n some basketball games...and proceeded to aggravate it further on a long run the next day (I know, brilliant!). I'm supposed to run the Indy mini-marathon in May. At this point I'm not feeling very optimistic about that.

Thanks Fletch for the info! I just don't look forward to the MRI detuctable...since from what I have heard, an MRI is required to properly identify a meniscus tear.
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby ScottyP » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:37 am

I had 70% removal of a torn meniscus removed and it was a solid 10-12 weeks before I had real strength in that leg
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:42 am

I'm starting to think I should just climb with a bottle of bourbon and an adrenaline shot...
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:48 am

Fletch wrote:You will end up compensating for your bum knee with your good knee and overstrain your good one.


My good knee (the one that's now the better one) has been the weaker one for years; I've been waiting for it to blow for a long time.

I guess it's time to just cross the fingers. I've always had a high pain tolerance, recovered quickly from injuries, and escaped the sicknesses that knock everyone else out. Here's to hoping my luck keeps holding out.
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby klk » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:45 am

there aren't any hard and fixed answers. there's no definitive way to test cartilage tears. and then there are competing philosohies of how to treat known tears of different severity.

15 yrs ago, when i was working in the training room, trimming and vaccuuming were routine. now, the research says that it's less clear that surgery helps. there are obvious exceptions: chronic locking; and pain that doesn't respond to rest, ice, elevation and compressions and then pt.

how bad is it? got the goose egg behind the knee? does it lock frequently? those are basic questions. your doc and an mri will help to narrow down the rest. be sure to have a sports med doc and not one of those who has put his kids thru college by doing gratuitous scopes. the current research suggests that certain sectors of the meniscus seem to be more responsive to surgical repair. bad news? yr over 18 and you'll never grow new connective tissue or cartilage.

i tore a meniscus this year and i'm still dealing with it. seems to be improving, but i haven't put on the skis yet.

good luck bro.
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby vancouver islander » Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:05 am

Get it fixed Bob. I've torn the medial meniscus in both knees. I know whereof I speak.

Tear 1, June 2006. I day post op
Image

Start isometric exercises 2 days post op. Stationary bike 4 weeks post op. Gentle walking 8 weeks post op. First easy hike 3 months post op. First real hike 6 months post op. Full recovery, when I went out and stopped worrying ~ 1 year.

Tear 2, November 2007. 1 day post op
Image

Same successful recovery schedule. No reoccurence after 3 years.

I had tons of warning for the first tear and ignored it all. Locking sensation. Soreness. Luckily I was at home when it finally (and agonisingly) tore. Not so lucky the second time when I had neither symptoms nor warning but identical agony. I told the story on SP you might remember. See http://www.summitpost.org/marooned-in-t ... ess/362627

This last could have cost me my life if we had been trapped by the same storm that had tragic consequences for the party ahead of us.

You do a lot of solo travel. Don't take the risk. Right now, you have a partial tear but it will get worse. Bite the bullet and get it seen to. I'm 64 and healed fine. A young whipper snapper like your should heal even faster.

Good luck!
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby england » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:04 am

It really depends on how bad you have torn it. As said in a previous post the longer you wait the more it tears. In my case I waited way to long, and it tore completely, and flipped over locking my knee in place for two weeks until I had surgery. I was in a brace, and on crutches for six weeks. Other people I have known with a meniscus tear were walking around in a couple of days after surgery. Having said this go see the doctor ASAP, and good luck.
P.S.-Recovery time is a good time to see how many pull-ups you can do in a day.
P.S.S.-Also, make sure, and tell the doctors to keep as much cartilege as possible. The recovery time might be longer, but believe me you will be very thankful as you get older.
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby keema » Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:41 am

I tore the medial meniscus in my knee. I had the surgery on a Thursday and I was back at work without crutches on Monday. Went backpacking about 6 weeks after. Get it taken care of right away.
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby Hyadventure » Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:52 am

Bob,

I've told this story many times.. I tore my meniscus while gym climbing with my son. I was determined I could rehab it and avoid surgery. I tried for two years to rehab it with only minimal results. I finally submitted to the surgery on a Friday. I was doing low impact cardio on Monday. Two weeks later I canyoneered in Red Rocks on Saturday and the next day I climbed Frog Land.

Get'er done.. You won't regret it.

BJ
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby CClaude » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:04 am

It depends on does your doctor want to do a meniscus repair or is he just going to remove the damaged region arthroscopically.

If its a repair, which if you are a candidate for it, is a MUCH longer recovery time but can be a better outcome in the long run. Expect to be in a FULL brace and crutches for a month atleast (my doctor was saying he wanted full immobilization for a longer period of time since he had the intent to repair mine since my knee was very well vascularized) and not really able to do much for 6 mos, but if it heals correctly).

For an arthroscopic excision (which mine ended up being)the results and healing depends on the degree of the tear and how complex it was. Mine was a significant radial complex tear (my doctor who also is the knee guy for the US Ski and Snowboard Team, always forgets how bad it was until he goes back and looks at the pictures and then he gets a funny look on his face). I had surgery on Friday, and laid around until Monday. Started to go to the gym on Monday when I was finally off crutches and only did upper body weight workouts for a week. The following week my doctor allowed me to go biking, easy long rides on forest service roads but nothing too intense. I also went to the climbing gym and started to climb routes WITHOUT using that leg. Didn't really start to climb outside for 6wks and really started with finger cracks when I did.

I'd rather be a bit on the conservative side since I don't want any more to be removed (and my doctor doesn't want to do surgery on me again anyways).

See a good surgeon who specializes in knees. Given your situation he/she can make the best call for what options are open for you.

For me, I'm stronger then ever, since the surgery. Can ski, climb, backpack.... everything except run.

And I second what England said. Try to keep as much of the meniscus as possible. The more that is removed, the greater the risk or degenerative joint issues as you get older, such as osteoarthritis leading to possible knee replacement surgery.
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Re: Recovery time from meniscus repair?

Postby Bob Sihler » Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:34 am

Thanks for the advice here, everyone. I finally saw the doc today. Per insurance rules, he had to send me for an x-ray before doing an MRI, but he was pretty sure it was a meniscus tear, and I'll be scheduling the MRI tomorrow.
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