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Fast meniscus surgery rehap

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Monday afternoon I am going to have arthroscopic surgery for a medial (inner knee) miniscus tear. What can I do to speed up recovery and get on the snow? Any suggestions?
post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by madbee:
Monday afternoon I am going to have arthroscopic surgery for a medial (inner knee) miniscus tear. What can I do to speed up recovery and get on the snow? Any suggestions?
Hey madbee - Good luck on the procedure! I just left a lengthy post about a meniscus injury I had. I didn't require surgery, but all the same, I've spent years off the snow, and there were plenty of exercises I did to place less stress on the knee after a period of inactivity, just to be comfortable playing tennis. Most important was to strengthen the muscle groups around the knee, quads and hams. Leg extensions, hamstring curls. I stayed away from squats and explosive movements for some time because of the stress inside the joint. There is some evidence that glucosamine/chondrotin tablets enable the meniscus to rebuild. My take is, I'd do anything to get back to where the knee was, if not better. GNC and places like that have plenty of the stuff so do a bit of research. Three smaller doses throughout the day apparently proved more effective than one big amount once a day, so that's what I did and still do. Stay upbeat, you'll be back better than you were before, and again good luck. If you feel like expanding on the injury, I wouldn't mind hearing what you did in there, and how severe it was to require surgery.
post #3 of 23
What are they doing during surgery? I assume they are just cleaning it up and maybe cutting some damaged tissue out.

I slightly tore my meniscus last Feb when I blew out my ACL and sprained everything else.

I have no idea about rehab for meniscus damage but I know that just the little tear I had made my recovery time longer than a normal ACL repair or replacement. I had ACL surgery in 97 for a football injury with no meniscus damage and I never had back knee pain.

They snipped the little piece of meniscus that was overhanging and it caused some strange pain in the back of my knee which I guess is common for knee surgery.

I still did squats and other quad and hamstring exercises but I didn't have severe meniscus damage.

Tiger obviously has firsthand knowledge on meniscus stuff but I would say that leg extensions are not good for you. Even with a healthy knee the shearing force on a knee from extensions is not worth it.

I do second the glucosamine as I also take it three times a day.

Also, I would go see a sports massage therapist after surgery so there is no scar tissue buildup because anytime air gets into the knee it reacts and stiffens up all the muscles and tissue.

If you are near the downtown Boston area I can tell you who I go see.

Remember that alot of Orthos will say that you cannot ski this year but that may not be the truth.

I had one doctor tell me that I can ski with no issues this winter and another one say I cannot.

I have been busting my ass with rehab and other stuff so I am going out as soon as it snows.

Good Luck
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
They are cutting away the damaged part. After spring skiing around Easter my knee hurt a little and started making a snapping sound. Then in August after a very mild hike I got a stabbing pain when I moved it certain ways. Even hurt sometimes to walk stairs and to drive my car with the clutch. I waited a couple of weeks. Went to the doctor and she said to wait more. It didn't go away and seemed worse. Some swelling, sharp pain if I bent it a certain ways. Finally they did an MRI and said it was the meniscus. . I am afraid that it may hurt a lot and I won't be able to ski much. (But now, with the surgery tomorrow, I wonder if I should get a serious brace and take lots of pain pills?)
The surgeon is a skier and seems to think I might be better in a month. But I know they can lie. I have been taking the glucosimine since this started and I will space it out. Also I live in Watertown (near Boston) and would like the names of any therapists who people have had good experiences with. thanks for the advice.

Madbee
post #5 of 23
Hey madbee - hang in there, you'll do fine. Who knows, probably will hurt for a bit after surgery, after all, they are digging in there, but if you trust them to do that (and they know better than we do), seems best to trust them when they say you'll recover and be out there again just fine. Heck, Bernie Williams had meniscus surgery earlier this year to "clean up" damage and came back in time to play the latter half of the season in center field for the Yanks, so it's probably fair to say it's as routine as surgeries go. If they recommend painkillers, that seems normal as well, though I'd make sure any knee brace, if needed, was designed correctly for your rehab; compression on the entire knee may not be what's best. The real progress will be in pt after the procedure, no worries. Again, best of luck and post back to let us know how it goes -
post #6 of 23
I've heard 4-6 weeks for this type of procedure. I think having your ortho being a skier helps. He/she knows the impact on the knees better than someone who is not a skier. At any rate, do not slack on the rehab and I bet you'll be back out there by the holidays, no problem.

Good luck!
post #7 of 23
So, Madbee, how's it goin'? That was your knee they operated on, not your keyboard fingers, right?

Based on my experience, my advice depends on three things: how much of your miniscus did they repair/remove, how you react to the violation of your knee joint, and what shape you were in prior to the surgery.

Strong conditioning leads to rapid recovery. That's one of the reasons you see pros returning to their sport so fast. The other is the money. So, if you aren't being paid to ski, don't push yourself to return to the slopes too soon. For most of us, there will indeed be another season. That said, if you feel strong and don't hurt, go ski when you feel ready and the dr. or p.t. releases you. If you were in poor condition to start with, accept that you'll only be safe to ski after building a good pair of legs, better than before, because you knee isn't the same knee you had. All things considered, I'm a better athelete from what I learned in rehab.

If they repaired the miniscus, you've got great odds of a full recovery. If they removed part of it because it was too damaged, you'll have exposed, uncushioned femur bone there for a long time. Maybe forever if you're my age. It's my understanding that the m. is "cartilage like" material, and therefore capillary free. No blood = no growth. You'll have a weak spot, and I advise against cliff drops over 25 ft. in the future.

Finally, arthroscopy, for all it's amazing benefits, is still a gross violation of the joint. Your synovial fluid leaked all over. You may be swollen for months, or maybe just weeks, but ice will be your friend for a long time. Your leg muscles--the shock and protection structure you'll build in rehab--will grow faster than your joint will heal. So you'll feel strong, but still be weak deep inside the knee. Be careful. There's nothing more depressing than "2 steps forward, 3 back" rehab. If you ski this year, I advise icing after skiing, even if you don't hurt. Your joints will last longer. I treat my knees now like a pitcher treats his arm--I want my career to last a long time.

Best wishes for a full recovery!
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Downhill Dave and others
Thanks for the information and encouragement. Especially about keeping it iced later. My pitching knee. The surgery was fast and the doc said I have the knee of a 20 year old (i am more than twice that). Much of my training consists of teaching middle school. They snipped off the torn piece, a medium sized tear they said. I'm keeping it iced and raised and hobbling around the house on it today. Seems a lot better than yesterday. The good thing is that the doc said if I ski on it in 4 or 5 weeks (gently of course) I can't make it worse. So I'm trying to save some of these pain pills for the slopes.
madbee
post #9 of 23
It sounds like everything went well Madbee,
8 weeks of rehab_time should put you back up on the summit around that balmy mid-January time frame.....hmmm.. : ~0 to -20F(windchill) on the average for a week or two.

Take Your Time!!!! ....that is if you're not addicted to windchill and half the mountain being closed anyways.

Steve
(ATing with V-Pros.... : )
post #10 of 23
It's not like an ACL where you have a graft to worry about - you just need your strength, balance and flexibility back. For the first part - make sure you keep it elevated and iced as much as humanly possible - swelling slows the whole process down. Then work really hard on PT to rebuild your muscles and regain your flexibility. I was back to easy dirt biking 4 weeks after my partial menisectomy early this summer, and my OS released me to do whatever I wanted at 5 weeks. Your OS/therapist will evaluate you along the way and be best able to tell you when you're ready.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
It was 2 weeks yesterday since the surgery and I have almost no pain. It only hurts a lot if I bend it certain ways. Feel it a little on a few flights of stairs-- but less each day. Much less pain than before the surgery. I have been doing PT and icing it at least once a day. But I am encouraged by how quickly it is healing.
madbee
post #12 of 23
Alright! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

What's your PT like, what kind of strengthening or balance exercises are you doing?
post #13 of 23
madbee,

I had a ACL reconstruction with a graph from the patellar tendon. During the procedure the doctor noticed more tears in both the medial an lateral meniscus which he cut out. I had this surgery done on May fifth. On oct. 13 of the same year i was able to compete in the Long Beach Marathon. I did not do the entire marathon instead i turned it into a biatholon. I did the bike tour finished changed into some running shoes and did the half marathon.

I attribute this to a very aggressive rehab. Find a friend or therapist who realizes you are an athlete, they will push you harder than if you were a couch potato. I was astonished by the laziness of the other people in rehab every time i went. If you don't put in the work and deal with some pain you will not heal as quickly as you would like.

Good Luck.
post #14 of 23
I skied at Killington on Tuesday and I only had ACL surgery late May and some of my meniscus snipped.

It's all about the rehab.
post #15 of 23
I had a hamsting graft ACL recon and meniscus repair and despite ally my begging and pleading, my OS absolutely insisted that even if I developed legs like Hermann Meier, there's no way he would tell me I could ski until 1 year after surgery. Reasoning is that regardless of the muscle structure/balance/skill, the graft wouldn't be fully vascularized until then, and there's no way to speed that up, and that's what he was worried about. I know other doctors vary, but mine wouldn't budge. Luckily I had surgery in mid October, so by the time I was really feeling ready to ski, the season was winding down (and I was stuck living in El Paso...) so it wasn't too hard to take.
post #16 of 23
Using that reasoning, how is it that pro skiers ski very soon after ACL surgery? Obviously they have the best doctors and rehab equipment but there must be some reasoning for them to ski so soon.

I know that the graft takes a year to get juicy and be full size again but 1 year to not ski is playing it very safe.

I went about 3 months after completely tearing my ACL and did every activity with no issues. My muscles built up around my knee to stabalize it and then when I had surgery I was already ahead of the game.

It's definately better to play it safe but I can't go a season without skiing.
post #17 of 23
Trust me- I brought that up every time I was in his office. He said if that was the way you made your living - fine, it might be worth the risk. But if it's not, it's a good way to end up either stretching the graft or retearing it before it's fully healed - and you can end up under the knife again or with permanent damage. If you're getting paid in your sport you're more willing to take the risk and jump right back in as soon as you have the strength. Does explain the pro athletes who've had dozens of surgeries though.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Tiger Paw
The physical therapist gave me some pretty mild exercises (I think).
Quadricepts sets- tighening front of thigh muscles, holding, relaxing.
Then doing that and lifting the leg not too much. (Now that it's feeling better I added a little weight. Both sitting up. Stretching the hamstings. I have added a little more bending. I have to go back next week for more. I try to do them often. I see the doc tomorrow. Interestingly I asked him
about glucosimine and he didn't think it did any good. "Like a bald man eating hair," was his comment.
post #19 of 23
The exercises you are doing are pretty much identical to ACL surgery post-op exercises.

At least you don't have an annoying CPM machine to keep bending and straightening your knee.

Just take it easy and listen to your body.

You'll be skiing in notime.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
I started working out seriously at the Y last week. This weekend I got in a few runs. It was great. The knee didn't hurt skiing, but walking around in ski boots was tough. I didn't overdo it. It seems to be healing fast.
post #21 of 23
Madbee - wow!

On the slopes already! You are indeed one mad bee!

Heck, I'm still grinding my teeth that it was warm enough to play tennis this weekend.

Hearing you say you felt it walking around in your boots reminds me of when I damaged my knee - the gentle skiing back to the lodge after the spill was fine; I first knew I'd REALLY done something when I stepped down a few stairs in the lodge in my boots and my knee couldn't handle it.

Might want to be careful walking around...Have fun out there this season and keep up the pt!
ps -
On Glucosamine:
Quote:
"Like a bald man eating hair," was his comment
- LOL. Maybe he's onto something, I should re-read the bottle... maybe...not supposed to swallow the pills.... supposed to insert the pills directly into the knee to act like the missing meniscus.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerpaw View Post
 
Quote:
Originally posted by madbee:
Monday afternoon I am going to have arthroscopic surgery for a medial (inner knee) miniscus tear. What can I do to speed up recovery and get on the snow? Any suggestions?
Hey madbee - Good luck on the procedure! I just left a lengthy post about a meniscus injury I had. I didn't require surgery, but all the same, I've spent years off the snow, and there were plenty of exercises I did to place less stress on the knee after a period of inactivity, just to be comfortable playing tennis. Most important was to strengthen the muscle groups around the knee, quads and hams. Leg extensions, hamstring curls. I stayed away from squats and explosive movements for some time because of the stress inside the joint. There is some evidence that glucosamine/chondrotin tablets enable the meniscus to rebuild. My take is, I'd do anything to get back to where the knee was, if not better. GNC and places like that have plenty of the stuff so do a bit of research. Three smaller doses throughout the day apparently proved more effective than one big amount once a day, so that's what I did and still do. Stay upbeat, you'll be back better than you were before, and again good luck. If you feel like expanding on the injury, I wouldn't mind hearing what you did in there, and how severe it was to require surgery.

Hi,


Where did you read that " There is some evidence that glucosamine/chondrotin tablets enable the meniscus to rebuild

 

That sounds like a miracle treatment to me . I hope you are right :-)

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by J squared View Post

madbee,

I had a ACL reconstruction with a graph from the patellar tendon. During the procedure the doctor noticed more tears in both the medial an lateral meniscus which he cut out. I had this surgery done on May fifth. On oct. 13 of the same year i was able to compete in the Long Beach Marathon. I did not do the entire marathon instead i turned it into a biatholon. I did the bike tour finished changed into some running shoes and did the half marathon.

I attribute this to a very aggressive rehab. Find a friend or therapist who realizes you are an athlete, they will push you harder than if you were a couch potato. I was astonished by the laziness of the other people in rehab every time i went. If you don't put in the work and deal with some pain you will not heal as quickly as you would like.

Good Luck.

Hi  J Squared,

 

How old were you at time of surgery ? I am going for knee reco this week with lateral and medial meniscus repair and I am very worry about getting OA in the future because of the meniscus trim. You had the op 12 years ago so it would be interesting to me know about your experience. I hope you are doing well.

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