Medial Meniscus Tear: Surgery or Not??? Medial Meniscus Tear: Surgery or Not???

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Thread: Medial Meniscus Tear: Surgery or Not???

  1. #1
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    Default Medial Meniscus Tear: Surgery or Not???

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    I suffered a medial meniscus tear about 6 months ago. Ortho gave me the option to have surgery or wait and see how it heals. I chose to wait. In the mean time, I have aggravated it about 3 or 4 times. However, things clear up after each aggravation and I go back to feeling almost normal.

    I have been on the novice program for a few months and am continuing to make progress, despite the injury. Squats and deadlifts don't bother it.

    Here is my question. I have surgery to clean up the meniscus scheduled in about 10 days. I am struggling with the fact that I am still making gains without ill effects. The tear is in a region of the meniscus that does not have great blood supply, so the possibility of the tear healing is unlikely.

    Anyone have any opinions? Surgery or not??? Would not having surgery increase my risk of greater injury, due to having crapping floating around in there?

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
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    By "cleaned up", what precisely do they mean?

  3. #3
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    Ryan, I probably was in a similar situation, just before I started SS, in fact, I started SS originally as part of my rehab.

    Doc showed me pictures of my meniscus before and after - it was quite rough and frayed, and with a tear or three. It didn't heal by itself, but slowly got worse over a year. After the procedure ("shaving off the crud") the meniscus was quite smooth - I saw the pictures. The doctor called this "cleaning out". There sure wasn't any crap floating around in there. That was about a year and a half ago; my knee causes a lot less issues now.

    Days before the surgery I could barely ski half a day at a very moderate pace - my knee was killing me - now it's very manageable. Doc also told me to keep working out to stabilize my knees (ACLs are shot also). So I did. Still doing my squats every workout.

    Also, PT helped me regain full ROM, but once he wanted me to do bosu-ball-shit and low load high rep BS, I quit and joined a gym with a power rack, and started to squat. Took me about two month until I could squat to full depth, so you may have to be patient & work your ass off. Which generally might be a good idea.

  4. #4
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    They will be performing a meniscectomy. They are not sure how much they will be taking out. Said they would have to wait and see what it looks like when they go in.

  5. #5
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    I have my doubts as to the value of this procedure. We'll ask the board.

  6. #6
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    Thank you very much. Any input would be valuable.

  7. #7
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    I had the surgery done in jan. 2014 from a massive tear at work, I walked around on it for several months before surgery was finally approved. Once inside the doc removed 40% of meniscus on the inner side of the right knee.rehab and recovery was only about a month. In my case it stopped getting any better after that. I'm 51 and there was some knee degeneration from being past 40 (says the doc) that may have complicated my surgery and recovery.But before the injury and subsequent surgery I could run and jump and a whole bunch of other shit that is now out of the question. In contrast my left knee has no problems, never hurts at all.The PT told me not to load the joint...so I started SS AND NEVER WENT BACK TO THE PT, I can still squat without much trouble but I adjust my stance to accommodate my knee cave, Deads and PC are ok too, the lifts actually make my knee feel better.
    I wear a unloader brace all day to push my knee back in line (somewhat) so I can work. I load at UPS. I dont think I could manage without the brace. Once you start removing any significant amount your knee will cave to whatever side its taken from. The surgeon recommended a partial knee replacement for me, the insurance (workers comp) denied the claim based on the preexisting condition (degeneration). Its funny how the surgeon said the outside of the right knee looked like a 30 year olds knee while the inside looked like a 90 year old. I wonder if those 7 months of walking around working on a torn meniscus (before surgery) had anything to do with how it looked.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    I have my doubts as to the value of this procedure. We'll ask the board.
    I've torn both menisci (and a grade ii acl and grade iii mcl tear, in opposite knees). None of these have required surgery. My knees "click" frequently, but squats have made my knees much stronger than before (I was not strength training when these injuries occurred - one was from a fall while skating, the other from jiu jitsu). It's possible that getting scoped for a meniscus tear does nothing or makes it worse, too.

    I live a generally pain free life, though sometimes poor weather can make my knees feel stiff. I recommend getting a quality pair of neoprene knee sleeves, like SBD or Rehband) and doing full depth squats as outlined in Starting Strength.

  9. #9
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    My wife had this procedure in both knees when she was a teenager. They scraped away all the "crab meat," which the doctors said was about 90% of her medial menisci. She has no idea what's left or what's grown back. She squats without knee pain, and she's extra careful to avoid valgus collapse and knee slide.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    If you are making gains and not having any issues I would advise not having any surgery.

    What age are you?
    Do you play or hope to play any sport competitively again?

    I have some loose cartilage in my right knee. Cracks and bangs but generally it's not an issue.
    It becomes an issue on occasion were the cartilage gets in somewhere it shouldn't and instead of a normal cracking, you get a horrible goey fluid noise. Generally some very slight pain but moderate discomfort and inflammation will follow but with the right amount of rest and squat it goes away all by itself. If however, I play sports and impact the knee or I get that non click action while running or cutting I would be in a bad way for a couple of weeks but it would settle again.
    Hope that makes some sense to read!

    My left knee, I had cartilage cleaned up and a lateral release and that knee would get very stiff and sore at different times. Standing on a hard surface being the simplest. Stand for too long and your next steps are like you should really have a zimmer! It easily causes me more pain than the knee with loose cartilage remaining.

    I have since dislocated the left kneecap (cartilage cleaned out knee) but the pain I speak of was pre this injury.

    Squatting has easily helped me with my knees.
    Sorry, squatting CORRECTLY helps.

    So in brief; if you are not playing a field sport competitively, I would advise you to not have the surgery and learn to manage your knee health through exercise.

    If you do play or want to return to play then I would advise you get the surgery because it will flare up and your preparation and participation will be affected.

    Best of luck.

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