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Under the Knife

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, as some of you may remember, I tore my miniscus last January. The doctors told me last year that surgery would cause more problems than what I already was having, so after lots of pain this year, I went to a different doc. He said he could scope my knee and I'd be better in 3-4 weeks. Have any of you had this surgery done and how was the recovery period?
post #2 of 20
Indications are good. My friend tore both his ACL & MCL late last season. He is back skiing better than last year. He worked hard at his therapy.
post #3 of 20
I have a friend who had it done 2 years ago, he is still on a crutch. Be very careful. Exhaust all other options before you have surgury.
post #4 of 20
From what I know tearing miniscus is very different from the damage done in tearing an ACL or MCL so be very carefull in compairing the two. When it comes to Orthopods get a refferal from someone, and ask the specialty. There are specialists within this field and you want to make sure you get one who specializes in knee's. good luck.
post #5 of 20
I had a torn miniscus in my left knee,I delt with it for a few years at times it was hell other times no problem.it was at it's worst on my ski trips.I could ski & take aleeve it would hurt more as the day went then the next morning it would be good as new & I would start all over again.finally I had a ski trip that was unbearable I had to have some real painkillers shipped to summit co from home still no fun.I decided I either had to get this fixed or never go skiing again sure I could work & do all the normal things in life but not play like I want too.so I go to a sports doctor he pulls & twist on my knee says well you know your 39 & it's just the way it is. I had to tell him look I'm not ready to quit doing all the things I like to do,so I told him I wanted an mri he says ok but I doubt we find anything.so we get the mri & find the torn miniscus,he scoped it & presto I'm like new no more aleeve, ski allday,ski moguls better than I ever have it's great.so I missed one ski season,I had the operation in january & it took 1-2 months to recover,some pro ball players play in 2-3 weeks.the only bad thing is doctors are like mechanics for every ten people that love their work theres five that think their awfull. so good luck in getting your problem fixed I hope you find the right doctor & it works out well.I only wish I'd have done this sooner like years sooner.

pray for snow waiting for feb1st

post #6 of 20
Year ago November had my right meniscus done. At the time I was running regularly and doing some fairly rough stuff on the knees with weights in the gym. Stayed awake and watched the whole procedure on the monitor. It was cool. Really was informative. Was skiing again, although tentatively, by the first of January. Rest of the season got better and better. One thing the doc told me was “not” to run anymore so really focused on biking. Then, in May, a lady ran a stop sign and nailed me pretty good while riding my bike. Wouldn’t you know that that main things hurt were my knees. I was really lucky though because no one could figure how I avoided back, neck and head injuries.

Anyway, I think it all depends on how much stuff they have to clean up in there. Usually, if they’re just clipping a little off and cleaning the loose stuff off you’ll be out of skiing or other hard activity for about 6 weeks. Don’t let those folks that tell you about the guy playing football or other “remarkable recovery” stories talk you into short-cutting the healing process. I also know a guy who felt so good he didn’t give himself ample recovery time and now he’ll limp for good. They say to be real still and stay completely off of the knee for the first few days and then gradually work it back to normal. I would do just that and not rush it in any way no matter how good you feel.

The other thing I was told and it really was a good idea was to work the legs up as much as possible before the surgery. Strong leg muscles really help to keep the pressure off the knee while healing. They also help you avoid or stop movements that you can feel are wrong when they occur. That’s my 2 cents. Oh yea, and don’t let any cars hit you while riding a bike.
post #7 of 20
I am currently recouping from arthroscopic surgery on my knee, a piece of cartilage was removed and the area was trimmed up a bit. Surgery took place on January 14th, I was warming up with my volleyball team last thursday. I will likely be playing in a week. Skiing will start in about two weeks. I would like to have full strength back before I start dropping money on lift tickets. Fortunately I can night ski for free at Wintergreen a couple times before heading to a real mountain. The knee is still a bit tender but I should have full motion back in a couple of days. My Doctor works with the Canadian Freestyle Team, find a good surgeon.
post #8 of 20
7 Mary 3 -

On a different note. I don't know if you've heard, but Bridger is finally getting some decent snow. Definitely the best season in years. 10 days ago they had true waist deep powder with 4 feet up on the ridge. I skied 4" on Tuesday & 8" yesterday & its snowing right now. Too bad you aren't hear this year (though your grades would really tank).

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 28, 2002 08:46 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Rio ]</font>
post #9 of 20
I tore the medial meniscus (one of the surgeons in the group will probably correct me) in my left knee last March. No tendon damage. Not even skiing. Simply took a strange twisting step and felt it go pop.

Had it scoped on April 4. Flexibile enough to ride exercise bike on April 8. Surgeon wanted to know why I wasn't skiing on April 14 when there was a big dump on MtHood but it was tax weekend. I did ski on April 21-22.

Obviously we all recover at different rates. If you do not have tendon damage that needs to be repaired Your recover will consist primarily of regaining flexibility as the swelling goes down. FWIW, I'm 54 years old and, although I ski 40-50 days a year and cycle 3000+ miles a year I've got about 30 lbs to shed...

PS - I can send you the photos taken inside my knee if you want. ("wanta see my scar???")

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 28, 2002 09:12 AM: Message edited 1 time, by PowderJunkie ]</font>
post #10 of 20
If you don’t do anything, you could end up bone on bone. You don’t want that; I had years of pain. I didn’t tear my meniscus (sp), but was rather bone on bone, grade IV for the surgeons out there, after 4 dislocations of the patella over 15 years – three times playing soccer, high school and Division I in college, and once playing hockey – freak accident, no contact -- last January. Once the swelling dissipated, I decided to get surgery instead of PT this past June. I started pre-op PT schedule ASAP, which sped my post-op PT. I was actually skiing again before my surgery, I figured if I took a digger, I was going under the knife anyway…The doctors said my legs were strong enough that I couldn’t do any more damage.

From my understanding, they performed a lateral release of my patella, snipped my Plica(?) ligament, “ported and polished” my meniscus and patella. I got some cool pictures, video, and a bunch of scars, too. My leg was locked at zero degrees and absolutely zero weight on the leg for the first six weeks in a brace, but was allowed five degrees of motion during PT. I didn’t regain 100 percent range of motion until mid-September; the last five percent hurt the most.

Seven months later, I’ve moved from early season blue groomers, regaining strength and confidence, to running blacks, on/off piste top to bottom, but not all day. Still avoiding bump days, get half-way down, muscle fatigue sets in, cross my tips, and go OTB. FWIW, I’m 31 years old, ride stationary bike 30 minutes a day five days a week, go to PT twice a week, ski two/three days of the week, and snowshoe in the afternoons of the ski days with our dogs. And I feel about 70%.

I still don’t have the strength to stick a landing, skin a ridge, or rip the zipper line, but that will come back in time. Ironically, two of my ski buddies had the same procedure performed a few years back; they didn’t feel 100% until their second year. Good Luck in your recovery. Get a good surgeon geared toward sports medicine; I was lucky enough to have the Steadman Hawkins Clinic do the work.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 28, 2002 11:52 AM: Message edited 1 time, by woodpile ]</font>
post #11 of 20
Hey JoCanadian,

What's the name of your Doc? I have a friend who is looking for a second opinion for ACL & meniscus injury.
post #12 of 20
Dr. M. Heard, he is in banff, and I believe he only takes sports injuries now. Operations take place in Canmore or Golden, this is a much faster route than waiting for a year in Calgary.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey, thanks a lot guys and girls, you've been really helpfull. I'm actually not to worried about the doctor I have. A few years ago he was one of the offical knee surgeons for the U.S. Ski Team. He might still be, but I'm not postive on that. The weird thing about my knee was that last season after about a month and a half it was in pretty good shape. I was skiing pain free, but I just didn't have the strength that I used too. This season it has been extremely painfull so I figure I'll hang up the sticks for the rest of the year.

Rio, thats awesome that you guys are getting snow. I was out for a week after New Year's and we had about a foot and half. The cool thing was, my knee held up great as long as I rode my powder boards and stuck to the deep stuff. I'll probably have to make it back out to visit friends and bring my powder boards along just in case it dumps.
post #14 of 20
Guess we have quite a variety here with experience but I guess it just means it depends on how much work they do. My surgeon told me absolutely no hard work on the knee for 6 weeks and I can't even imagine riding an excersise bike 4 days later like PJ. Anyway, do what the doc says and don't wait too long, especially if there's a lot of clicking in the knee. That clicking in my knee was the tear in my miniscus flipping back on the cartilage covering the bone end and I did go through to the bone in one spot. Ended my running days. Good luck 7M3 and let us know about your progress.
post #15 of 20
7 Mary 3 - get the knee fixed. If the surgeon is an expert you will be back in good shape in no time! I had an ACL surgery and have some friends who blew out their meniscus. The surgery is bareable and the result in general very good.

Good luck on your recovery!
post #16 of 20
I tore my right medial meniscus in December 2000, and didn't get it diagnosed until a few months later. I was running 20 mi/week and skiing on wknds in the interim experiencing moderate pain and a lot of swelling which really reduced my range of motion. My MD knew right away what it was, ordered an MRI. I was all set to have it done early last spring when my wife was diagnosed with a tumor in her heart (atrial myxoma for you medical buffs) well, that definitely trumped my knee problem so she went in first and I didn't get scoped until May. I woke up with a cool set of digital photos of the inside of my knee and could pretty much walk to the car. Here's what not to do...mow the lawn the next day. This idiotic move set me back considerably. However in about 6 weeks I was running again and am currently skiing stronger than ever. I started taking glucosamine and chondroitin in mid-December, which you might want to look into. My advice...get that tear trimmed up ASAP! My wish...for your speedy recovery!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
I suppose I'll find this out when my information packet arrives in the mail, but for those of you who have had their miniscus' repaired, do they cut the torn part off, or do they stitch it back together? If they cut the piece off, what are the side affects of having the missing piece? Thanks Again!
post #18 of 20
they cut away the torn part & smooth the edge from there it would depend on how bad it was .as for me mine was about average according to the doctor but I have a list of exercises I am "not supposed to do anymore" but can do low impact low weight ones.good luck. bteddy
post #19 of 20
7M3, since I was bone on bone, my knee cap was not on an even keel. They shaved away the excess and literally took “dremel” and sanded/smoothed out the exposed area – the pictures are pretty neat. By performing the lateral release, my knee cap floated back to center and came about on an even keel. But, in order not to get off keel again following surgery, my leg was locked at zero degrees for six weeks in a brace to allow the area to heal in the correct position. During the first six weeks of PT, I was allowed five degrees of motion each week under their supervision. After six weeks, my braced was opened up to 25 degrees, five less than my “full” range of motion, and I was allowed to bear some weight. I wasn’t allowed on a stationary bike until eight weeks.

Now I have 100 percent range of motion, but my strength is about 70 percent. I was up yesterday and could only get about half way down a bump run before my left leg ran out of juice. A couple times this year, my leg was so fatigued that I lacked the strength to step – press down with my arms -- into my step in bindings. The leg just shook like a leaf, until a buddy stepped on my boot. Needless to say, that was my last run for the day, but I had to ski down.

I guess, in the end, my biggest dilemma was when to get the surgery, summer or winter? I opted for summer, but I missed out on our annual Yak, Montana float trip in July because I was still on my back. I missed out on our other annual mtb trips to Fruita and Moab, etc…Living in Bozeman, I’m sure you can appreciate. I’d hang ‘em up, get on the pro-leisure beer drinking tour and just get it done. You don’t want to get to grade IV, bone on bone; it sucks.
post #20 of 20
7 Mary 3
Assuming you have only a meniscal tear then the surgery usually involves removing the torn piece and smoothing out edges. The injury generally is felt to predispose to an increased risk of developing wear and tear type changes to the knee but given your limitations I'd say the surgery sounds like the way to go. An active life contributes to accelerated wear and tear but the main thing is it was all worth it.
Recovery varies person to person but is usually months to full activity. Glucosamine sulfate has been shown in some studies to help people with degenerative changes in the knee. At age 42 I use it before and after skiing and I avoid impact sports to save my knees for skiing and other important things! Best wishes on your surg.
ski doc
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