Meniscus Tear Treatment and Running - KickRunners.com
 
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#1 of Old 10-13-2009, 11:36 PM - Thead Starter
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I managed to tear my medial meniscus, and now I am trying to figure out my treatment plan. Have any of you wonderful master runners had any experience with this that you can share with me? Know any runners our age who have? Any information you can share with me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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#2 of Old 10-13-2009, 11:49 PM
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I had a lateral meniscus tear in my late 40's and had it scoped. Recovery was normal and without complications. I even have a VHS tape of the procedure. I had a top sports ortho guy who was a speed skater in his youth and rode bikes.

He told me running would be better than riding. I didn't believe him and rode my bike to his office in my last visit. I was still playing lots of full court basketball at the time and had psychological issues with playing all out. Jumping was okay but quick lateral stuff was tough. Eventually I got my game back and also realized that running/jogging was better for my knees.

He showed my wife and me x-rays of my arthritic knees but they're fine as long as I stay active. Oh yeah, I tore my meniscus by doing jumping squats with 135 lbs. Bad move and a stupid one too.

Lastly I think my recovery was quick due to the fitness level I had then plus my gym work in addition to biking, basketball and running.

Alex
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#3 of Old 10-13-2009, 11:55 PM
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Lab, I'm very sorry to hear this but it does happen especially as we age.

I had a compound tear in my miniscus about 6 years ago. The doc recommended surgery but I decided to do nothing and let it heal by itself.
The funny thing is that at the time, I wasn't really into running as much as I am now. I was basically just a weekend runner doing about 5 miles a week, so it didn't really bother me to stop running for about 9 months to just let it heal. I think that I would have a real problem now...

I take 1500MG of Glucosamine every day and my knee has never felt better and I've never had a problem since.
Good luck with whatever course of treatment you decide on.

PS. I am super cautious about this now and any time I sense any possible problem with my knee, I back off and NEVER try to run through a knee problem.
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#4 of Old 10-14-2009, 12:08 AM
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I am 62. I tore my right medial meniscus 9 years ago. I had x-rays and MRIs was told I needed surgery by two different orthopedic surgeons, but I went with physical therapy instead. (The surgeon told me that he didn't know how much he'd have to cut until he was inside my knee and said there was a risk I would never run again.) I had problems with the knee off and on for several years, but it finally resolved. I don't have problems with the right knee anymore. I continued running using a 3 day a week training plan during the period with knee pain.

Last year, I was diagnosed with a tear in the left medial meniscus. I was missing up to a week of running at a time and had a lot of pain. I was disappointed and figured I would need surgery. A running friend told me she had a meniscus tear treated with cortisone over a year ago and was still pain free. I had this in mind when I visited a surgeon recommended by me internist (a runner and cyclist). The surgeon said I needed surgery, no other options. He added that I was at risk of further damage if I didn't get surgery. I asked about cortisone, and was told no way - cortisone is bad.

For a second opinion, I went to see my friend's doctor at the state medical school. She said the best first option is a cortisone shot, and that this is the protocol that insurance companies now recommend because the tears often resolve. She said this is due to the fact that in many instances once the pain is gone, the meniscus tear will smooth itself out and surgery can be avoided. I went with this option. She inserted the cortisone in the lateral side. She did not insert cortisone into the tissue, but instead filled the area around the meniscus with a cortisone solution. For 2 days I felt like I had water on the knee and laid off running. For a week, I kept running to about 1/4 normal. Then I resumed running. For a month, I still had pain, but it was less than before the shot. The pain got less and less. Right now, I am about 3 months out and I am running pain free.

There's my story.
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#5 of Old 10-14-2009, 12:19 AM
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Hey LabbyD!

So sorry to read about your injury. But. I am happy to read about these three success stories. I am especially happy to read about the non-surgical options... because I listened to This American Life (podcast) today and it was all about healthcare and... sometimes less is more....

Good luck! You have a lot to consider.
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#6 of Old 10-14-2009, 10:51 AM
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...lab//........Dumb
is only AFTER we do things,,,
,,,,it probably seems like a Good Idea at the time......

=======

...this has become a common surgery, and so should be pretty Surprise Fee....

just let it Rest and Heal afterwards....hang in there

--------------------
.....nothing takes the place of persistence.....
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#7 of Old 10-14-2009, 10:55 AM
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Lab -- I've also got a torn meniscus, and am thinking I'll get the surgery. The problem is that everyone who tells me "I had the surgery 12 years ago and it's FINE" is in their 50's...

"...the difference between veteran runners and other folks is Discipline in ReHab" -- tomwhite
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#8 of Old 10-14-2009, 11:19 AM
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I'm not familiar with what the surgeon actually does when he/she goes in there but from what I was told, they cut out some of the meniscus when they do this procedure.

For the immediate short tern it's going to give you relief but long term I think that you risk greater chance of arthritis down the road with the bone to bone contact from the loss of material that they are cutting out?
Someone correct me if I'm misinformed...This was the reason I opted not to do anything.
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#9 of Old 10-14-2009, 12:18 PM
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Pete,

I thought the same thing but I'm 61 now with arthritic knees (by looking at my X-rays) but I have no discomfort whatsoever. My theory is that the human body somehow compensates in miraculous ways? But the key is to stay active. If I were to do nothing for a month, my knee would probably start bothering me. And you're right - they do snip out a little piece but there's enough left so one doesn't have bone to bone contact.

Alex
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#10 of Old 10-14-2009, 12:32 PM
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we all have stories - I was MRI diagnosed with a torn left meniscus, but the doc said no surgery - probably most folks my age -63 then - have it. I didn't/couldn't run for about 6 weeks increased gradually at that time and am now fine. He had suggested cortisone, but I hadn't wanted a shot because I was able to bike w/o pain and we were about to go on a bike trip. by the time we got back, i was able to run short distances, so never went back for the miniscus (went back for other stuff - gastroc muscle) marj
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#11 of Old 10-14-2009, 05:01 PM
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Sorry to hear about your meniscus, Lab. My DH had it surgically repaired about 4 years ago and he has a few twinges once in a while but nothing like the pain he had previously. Now he is thinking of having the other one done. He didn't need physical therapy, and was walking with absolutely no pain at all in less than 2 weeks following the surgery.

Best wishes, whatever you decide for treatment,
Susan

Running in memory of my Dad.
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#12 of Old 10-14-2009, 06:14 PM
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[this thread is making me as anxioius as a pre-race taper] I feel BOTH a knee and an eyebrow twitch.

ETA I'm scheduled to do the arthroscopic deal on Friday. Doc said "NO impact (running, hard walking) for 4 weeks. Setting up trainer in the den.

"...the difference between veteran runners and other folks is Discipline in ReHab" -- tomwhite
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#13 of Old 10-15-2009, 08:22 AM
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Just saw the pic of you in Erika's RR
Just keep thinking of that moment and you will get through this

No matter how slow you run it is still faster than someone sitting on a couch

"It's totally okay for you to be less of an ass than you thought you were" Big Gahoona
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#14 of Old 10-15-2009, 09:40 AM
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Thanks, Hally -- that's maybe ? Mrs. Labduck... what I'm thinking of is another good year biking and swimming and walk-jogging -- and we will do that ride yet (if you can find a flat ride on Long Island, maybe even in 09).

"...the difference between veteran runners and other folks is Discipline in ReHab" -- tomwhite
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#15 of Old 10-15-2009, 11:42 AM
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That comment was meant for Labbie about the picture in Evanflein's RR MM
And yes, the lady on the left is Mrs Labduck.

The south shore of LI is very very flat. I don't ride there much because of it but I am sure there are some cue sheets I could reference. Weather is turning crappy though but let me know. I actually have a 4 day weekend next week coming up and no plans (except if it's riding weather Friday, meeting two buds)

No matter how slow you run it is still faster than someone sitting on a couch

"It's totally okay for you to be less of an ass than you thought you were" Big Gahoona
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#16 of Old 10-15-2009, 11:34 PM - Thead Starter
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Thank you everyone for your responses. It was exactly what I wanted to hear. I still have not decided what I am going to do for treatment. I really don't want surgery, but the physical nature of my job (which I enjoy) is not giving my meniscus the possibility to heal properly, so I am a bit frustrated right now.

runbill, since we both live in Portland, could you PM me with the name of the doctor you saw at OHSU? Thanks.

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#17 of Old 10-18-2009, 07:22 PM
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If you go to a man with a hammer, he'll recommend a nail.

If you go to a surgeon, he'll recommend surgery.

I prefer to try a physical therapist first. In particular see one who practices ART, Active Release Techniques.

ART is supposed to be very effective in treating meniscus tears and an ART therapist may recommend a return to running sooner than traditional physical therapists.

My last two physical therapists have scoffed at the idea that I should stop running to rest minor to moderate muscle or connective tissue injuries.

http://www.espritwellness.com/en/active-release-technique.html


I hope that you recover quickly.
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#18 of Old 10-18-2009, 07:38 PM - Thead Starter
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Yes bap, PT is my first choice. That's why I contact my physical therapist before anyone else. When I described my symptoms to her, she told me to see my orthopedist ASAP. That really surprised me too. Btw, she is certified in both ART (which did nothing for me in the past), and ASTYM (which cured both my PF and Quad/ITB issues), as well as being a competitive runner. She's the medical professional I trust the most.

As for an update, I am seeing a second orthopedist on 10/20. The one recommended by runbill. Stay tuned.

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#19 of Old 10-19-2009, 11:56 AM
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Lab... I have so much faith in the body healing itself.

I had a partial tear in my plantar facia and it totally resolved and is like it never happened.

Right now I have a knee issue too. It is a partial tear of the meniscus too (Dr guess w/o MRI). But my knee swelled up and got stiff after a couple months running with it. Saturday I finally saw the Dr who drained a bunch of liquid (90cc) out of the knee and gave a cortisone injection into the fluid area. He said a single cortisone treatment will not mess up the healing process. He said I am good to run a marathon in 2 weeks. The knee feels much better but I still have to watch running downhills. He said in a couple months we shoud get an MRI and go in and smooth it out. I like the comments here about letting running smooth it out. Like my PF fixed itself.

Good luck.
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#20 of Old 09-28-2012, 07:08 PM
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Peter,

I hope you get this message, as I know the original thread is so old.  Anyways, here goes:  I'm a 45 yo recreational runner (not more than 18km per week).  I an recuperating from chondromalacia patella.  The MRI also showed an asymptomatic tear in the meniscus.  So I ask the surgeon:  "Can I run on this once the chondro is cleared up?"  He says "If it doesn't hurt you can run on it."  I go back in for my 6 week appointment and his nurse practitioner says "I WOULD NOT run on that knee if I were you".  

 

So now I've got a surgeon who says one thing, and his colleague who works for him tells me another.... who to believe?  I don't have information to asses the risk of the meniscus tear moving while I'm running.  And the funny thing is, I wouldn't even have known that I had a tear if it hadn't been for the MRI.

 

My knee has a past history:  I had a small flap of meniscus removed when I was 16, but never had any problems with the knee after that until the chondromalacia.

 

Your experience is heartening however.  

 

I've also found Dr. Howard Luks' video blog about meniscus tears very helpful.  He essentially says the same thing as my surgeon: "If it isn't hurting you I don't want to operate on it".  There seems to be a whole mini-controversy about 'treating the patient and not the MRI'.  One article I read says that as many as 40 percent of knees have asymptomatic meniscus tears.

 

Go figure.

 

--Joe Miller

Queenstown, Maryland

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#21 of Old 09-28-2012, 07:14 PM
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Royboy --

 

I found your dialogue with Peter interesting.  I was curious as to why the Dr recommended running over cycling?  Is it the compression-release on the meniscus allowing more nutrients into the cartilage?

 

As you can read from my earlier post:  I'm 45 with an asymptomatic mensicus tear.  I'm not really sure if I should seek a second opinion or not.  The nurse practitioner wasn't a runner (I could tell) and it kind of scared me what she said "if the meniscus moves you could permanently damage your articular cartilage and then osteoarthritis etc"

 

Joe

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#22 of Old 09-28-2012, 07:19 PM
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Joe - Peter doesn't post here any longer. Sometimes he posts on RA.

I have s running friend with similar circumstances. He's still running 100 mile races even after his surgeon questioned if he'd run again. If he gets any discomfort in his knees (rarely) he takes a few days off. We are experiments of one. Good luck
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#23 of Old 09-29-2012, 10:34 AM
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Hey thanks KS!  I was wondering if I'd ever hear back.  Your friend's experience is interesting.  It can be a bit worrisome (at least for me) having an asymptomatic meniscus tear, because I don't have a clear way of judging the risks.  The nurse practitioner and the surgeon giving me two different answers doesn't help much.  (And the same nurse practitioner did the same thing to my friend -- told her something different from the surgeon, with regards to her shoulder).  So it must be peculiar to that doctor's office or something...

 

My plan is to give it a good 6 months of intensive quad and VMO strengthening to pull the kneecap back into alignment and fix the chondromalacia, AND THEN start into the Furman FIRST program of 3 + 2 (3 quality training runs and 2 cross training sessions per week).

 

Many thanks!

 

Joe

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