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Meniscus tear, What to do now?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

So I put a slight tear in my meniscus last year off a small kicker to a flat landing (not in a terrain park). It was stupid to even hit a jump constructed like that. Anyway I had thought the tear had healed untill last summer when it began irritating me again while biking. Let it heal again and it quit irritating me again, untill skiing this year. I was skiing at a moderate speed having fun bouncing off piles of skied out powder when it twisted a little wierd. It didnt get sore untill I got home, I also noticed a click in the knee. Now it doesnt seem to be any worse (mild to moderate soreness after skiing and some stiffness in the morning, no swelling) nor does it seem to be any better. So should I just keep skiing easy or should I call it quits for the season? I dont expect a difinitive answer since you have not seen my knee but im wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and what they did if they did have a similar experience. I turned down a trip to Jackson because I knew I would really screw it up there doing something stupid (as I do from time to time), and im really hoping to see an improvement in it after ski season. If I see no improvement or it gets worse during the season I will go visit my ortho doctor at new west in Kearney, Nebraska (did my acl recon on the other knee and it has turned out perfect)

post #2 of 10

Sorry to hear about your troubles. On the bright side meniscus tears are no cause for concern. You can keep skiing all you want. The only reason to repair a torn meniscus is pain. If it isn't causing you any trouble then just continue on and leave it alone. This is of course assuming that your soreness is strictly from a torn meniscus. The clicking can be from the torn chunk getting caught in the joint when straightening or bending your knee. Again, not a big deal if your knee doesn't get stuck. If the tear gets caught and your knee locks then you have a bit of a problem. Let your pain guide you as to how much you ski and it might be a wise idea to see your doc sooner rather then later if you are concerned about it on a regular basis. No point in worrying yourself about it all the time. Just to point out I am NOT a doctor so my advice is not a substitute for a proper medical exam. Good luck. 

post #3 of 10

I'll start with the same disclaimer as BadGalSkier: I am not a doctor and any advise I give is from personal experience. I have had numerous operations on both knees involving meniscus, ACL and MCL damage ranging from about 1985 until 2006.

 

Have you seen a doctor for your condition? How do you know that your meniscus healed? Loss of pain? MRI?

 

A torn meniscus can lead to complications. Bucket handle tears, amongst the most common, leave a bit of the meniscus hanging around inside yet still attached to the rest of the meniscus. These tears can eventually separate leaving a piece of cartilage floating around in the knee. They can also fold over and alter the ability of the knee to operate efficiently, perhaps being noticed as clicking. Imagine a bearing race with a broken ball bearing and the trouble the broken ball can cause. Quite often removing the damaged portion of the meniscus can alleviate pain and reduce the likelihood of future damage caused by the already damaged area.

 

You can ski with missing meniscus. I have about 50% in one knee and zero pain. I don't know where the other knee stands as to what is present or not, but I know I'm short on meniscus in that one too.

 

If you haven't already done so, I'd suggest consulting a sports specific doctor for advise about how to diagnose and treat your condition.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have not consulted my ortho yet (sports specific) since its a 400 mile drive. A sports therapist at University of Wyoming is the one who told me it had healed last september. Sounds like I shouldnt worry about it.

post #5 of 10

Clicking in your knee is never good. Pain indicates something going on that is not right. I'd lay off skiing and anything that causes pain in the knee until I had it satisfactorily diagnosed. You can damage the remaining healthy cartilage by ignoring something is wrong. If you have a flap of cartilage that is causing the clicking you can wear it to the point where it floats in the knee causing a problem without warning. You can also have the flap affect healthy cartilage by causing further tearing and/or abrasion.

post #6 of 10

More food for thought...leaving a torn meniscus the way it is if it's not causing you trouble beats cutting it out any day. Your best bet is to leave it torn but at least still have it there than to remove it just because you can. I've had 4 ACL recons along with meniscus removal but my surgeon left some torn areas alone that weren't causing any trouble rather than taking them out. You can't regrow the meniscus so I'd leave as long as possible. Menisci protect your articular cartilage which if damaged is even worse. Cartilage tears are an all too common thing and on don't usually require surgical intervention unless they are troublesome. 

post #7 of 10

I think the big take home is go get a professional opinion about what to do. If the ortho is 400 miles away, then go back to the sports therapist and get some more work on it. If that's enough to let you ski painfree then great. But it sounds like you're not currently painfree, so continuing to do what you're doing is probably going to lead to trouble.

 

I am under the impression that some degree of meniscus tearing is much fairly common. I just had an athletic therapist suggest that I have one after doing an assessment for a slight calf irritation. She then pointed out that it's not necessarily a problem. I took a few sessions with her, upped the glute work in my workouts and am no longer having any discomfort.  If you can keep it pain free, I think the doctors and phsyios would agree that surgery's a bad idea. But if you can't get it pain free, then it probably is something you want to do.

 

Elsbeth

post #8 of 10

This is a nobrainer. Go and see a good doctor (orthoped) that is specialized on knees. I had my minisc torn and fixed a few years ago. Recovery was 2 months for skiing but up to over a year for full recovery. I was pondering back and forth about the surgery but now afterwards I know it was the right desision.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadGalSkier View Post

More food for thought...leaving a torn meniscus the way it is if it's not causing you trouble beats cutting it out any day. Your best bet is to leave it torn but at least still have it there than to remove it just because you can. I've had 4 ACL recons along with meniscus removal but my surgeon left some torn areas alone that weren't causing any trouble rather than taking them out. You can't regrow the meniscus so I'd leave as long as possible. Menisci protect your articular cartilage which if damaged is even worse. Cartilage tears are an all too common thing and on don't usually require surgical intervention unless they are troublesome. 


This. My pt is of the school of thought that you do everything you can (ie, therapy) to prevent having the meniscus removed. Once it's gone, TKR becomes more likely.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadGalSkier View Post
 

More food for thought...leaving a torn meniscus the way it is if it's not causing you trouble beats cutting it out any day. Your best bet is to leave it torn but at least still have it there than to remove it just because you can. I've had 4 ACL recons along with meniscus removal but my surgeon left some torn areas alone that weren't causing any trouble rather than taking them out. You can't regrow the meniscus so I'd leave as long as possible. Menisci protect your articular cartilage which if damaged is even worse. Cartilage tears are an all too common thing and on don't usually require surgical intervention unless they are troublesome. 

I agree with that statement I had knee reco 4 months ago after basketball ball injury and I have a 12 mm very peripheral medial meniscus tear and 2 small lateral tears. The key is they are stable and not symptomatic therefore my surgeon left them in situ hoping that they might heal or remain not symptomatic. If symptomatic it might be different as they could propagate. At least this is my understanding. Where are your meniscus tear located and are they still not bothering you ? I have to say it is still something that worries me a bit but it is better left there than removed.

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