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Raise your hand if you've ever had a torn meniscus.

  1. habee profile image90
    habeeposted 3 years ago

    I've been walking and stair stepping and have just recently gotten back into weightlifting. I'm having terrible knee pain. I just had an MRI that revealed a long tear in my meniscus, along with a cyst behing my knee cap and a bone spur in the joint. There's virtually no cartilage in my right knee, and that MCL is "loose." I've been referred to ortho. I'm using ice, rest, elevation, compression, anti-inflammatories, pain meds, heat, and light massage. A knee brace is on its way. If you've had this problem and have some tips or advice, I'm all ears! I need some relief while waiting for the ortho doc to rescue me. I have 4 weeks to get better - before our family trip to Disney World. Thanks!

    1. Marisa Wright profile image93
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Ouch!  I had only a tiny tear and it was bad enough.  I was prescribed six months of rest and told it was unlikely to heal by itself and an op was the only solution.

      Luckily it did improve enough that I didn't have to have the op - but if it was the only solution for that tiny tear, sounds like it will be your likely outcome too.   As others have said, in most cases recovery is good.  I was told that during my six month, I should make a big effort to lose weight because that would take a lot of pressure off the knee.

      1. habee profile image90
        habeeposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Marisa, the irony of the situation is that this old injury is bothering me so much now, after losing 70 pounds.

  2. Healthyannie profile image74
    Healthyannieposted 3 years ago

    Hi habee - try Arnica gel it really cools and is great for pain. And no orange juice - sounds bizarre but if you stick to a less acid diet it helps to heal the knee joint.

    1. habee profile image90
      habeeposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Where can I find that stuff?

      1. Healthyannie profile image74
        Healthyannieposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Hi - a herbalist or drugstore should stock Arnica. It is the best.

        1. habee profile image90
          habeeposted 3 years ago in reply to this


  3. WillStarr profile image85
    WillStarrposted 3 years ago

    My wife had surgery for a torn meniscus...recovery was not bad at all and now she is pain free.

    1. habee profile image90
      habeeposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Sounds good!

  4. vocalcoach profile image95
    vocalcoachposted 3 years ago

    Oh, you poor baby!  My brother suffered with a torn meniscus and it was no picnic.  He finally had surgery.  I would lay off the walking and stair stepping, which I'm sure you have.  Artica gel has helped me with pain as Healthyannie suggested. Be sure to avoid rotating your knee or twisting it and I understand that icing your knee can help to temporarily relieve your pain.  So sorry habee and I hope you have help available.  Take good care and feel better soon.

    1. habee profile image90
      habeeposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      No stair stepping or distance walking or weightlifting. I can barely make it to the bathroom. lol

  5. Shanna11 profile image91
    Shanna11posted 3 years ago

    My mom had two torn menisc(i?) for years and just ignored the pain. She had surgery and was off her feet for only like two or three days and then with some physical therapy she was good. She went to Europe and did a ton of walking about a month and a half later. I hear the surgery really isn't all that bad-- like it's laproscopic, so you don't have scars.

    1. habee profile image90
      habeeposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Yeah, I've ignored my bad knee for almost 26 years - since I injured it in a bad fall. As for scars, I sure wouldn't want them to mess up my centerfold shoots! lol

  6. habee profile image90
    habeeposted 3 years ago

    Thanks for all the info, pals! I have an appointment with a great ortho surgeon on Monday, so cross your fingers. lol. I gots to see Mickey with the grandkids!!

  7. NMLady profile image86
    NMLadyposted 3 years ago

    I have that.  Had excruciating pain from it.  Can barely walk and on crutches.  I am waiting my MRI and surgery.....  I am icing down my knee to keep the swelling down.  I found some good info from this site....

    1. habee profile image90
      habeeposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Hurts like heck, don't it?

  8. Lisa HW profile image83
    Lisa HWposted 3 years ago

    As is often the case, I've thought more than a few times about whether to post this "longie" of a post; but, I suppose, I've decided to go ahead because a) I feel kind of like an old pro at this kind of injury, and b) another part to dealing with something so uncomfortable can be wanting to put it all into words at least once.  It can be kind of isolating, because people who have "just" had fractures (etc.) tend to think they understand the discomfort and issues associated with it, but it's its own kind of complicated injury and discomfort.

    I've been fighting off (getting over) a whopper of a "leg/knee thing" for just about three years now, and I can finally say it's pretty close to good as new.   (I landed wrong when I was climbing, and from there a giant mess got made, particularly after the whole business severely dislocated.   I mean..  The right leg has had to re-learn how to just walk naturally because it kind of "forgot", so it's just always been "screaming at me" for all this time.  Anyway, it's better; and I'm glad I didn't get surgery; because I was concerned that if they got into anything like reconstructing ligaments (or whatever) maybe I wouldn't have that chance to get back to "good as new".  I had a set-back late November, though, because I'd been relying on the left leg way too much.  That leg has already had fractures (knee fractures) twice before, so I've fought off arthritis for decades by favoring it and using the thigh muscles rather than the joint.  Of course, the price has been that some of the muscles have become shorter.  (I work out, but even then, I work around the fact that I don't want to put too much on the twice-fractured knee cap.)  So, late November, after working to death the twice-fractured/muscle-compromised, leg; I did some horrible thing to it. I felt a pop, and the leg wouldn't bend at all. It was at the back of the knee, and it was as the knee wasn't even a joint and was, instead, just a baseball bat (or something). So that meant making some demands on the previously "bad" leg, whether or not it was ready.

    Before the latest "issue" what has helped me with the "old" one has been keeping a footstool near wherever I sit.  It lets me shift the leg from being bent to stretching out, and it also lets me lift the knee and make there be less of a "fold" (as there there is with the foot on the floor).  It leaves more room for circulation.  That's the thing with some ligament (etc.) injuries (although I don't think this is the case with meniscus):  There's no real direct circulation to the injury, which is why it takes so long to heal.  I could tell that sitting with the foot on the floor made things worse, because the knee area would swell.  By using the step stools it, I think, increased circulation when I'd be sitting in a chair.  Elevating it made it feel better, but who can keep their foot (or feet) elevated for all that long????  hmm

    Anyway, almost happy ending here:  The November "issue" is now still there but getting better and better by the day.   The "old" thing (the one from three years ago) is very close to good as new.  I didn't use either a brace or any supports because I was concerned with the possibility of blood clots, in view of the fact that I couldn't move either injured leg much at all.  Instead (and this sounds really ridiculous, I know) I did what I thought of as "creating an imaginary brace" by using the muscles around the injury.  My thinking has been that, one way or the other, the muscles around the injuries need to be strengthened and lengthened.  Until I could start working out again (and now, I've just otten an aerobic step to add), I figured at least forming that "imaginary muscle brace" at least made the muscles around the injuries do something.  Having already done two stints with casts on two limbs, I just couldn't make myself feel that confined again.  Right now, the knee cap of the 3-year injury does feel like previously fractured ones did this soon after injury, and the cold does get both knees going; but I have no reason to think I have any arthritis (knock on wood), which, to me, is a great thing for the person who is "at the high end of middle age".   hmm  I'm very, very, careful to modify workouts, though; because you can kind of feel what's too much when you do it.   I haven't pushed either injury unless it feels ready to do the next thing, but I've also made it a point to do that next thing the minute I sense a part of the injury is ready.

    I know doctors can usually fix up stuff; but I've known so many people who either had to have re-dos because first-dos didn't work; and a couple who ended up worse off when some muck was made out of whatever injury they had.  I really wanted to give myself a chance to heal without intervention.  I'm super happy to finally be able to say they both seem to have made so much progress that I can see "good as new" (except for that twice-fractured kneecap) within reach.   A lot of people have expressed concern (and disapproval) with my choice to "do it my way" (as Elvis said); but with so many previous orthopedic injuries I felt confident in being able to know if/when there were signs of something getting more serious, and b) whether the whole, complicated, injuries were making slow, but steady and sure, progress as each few days passed.  I'm not suggesting that everybody else should deal with such serious injuries "my way", but I know I'm very glad that I took my chances and did.   smile  For the last three years, shopping carts have been my constant companion in malls and shopping centers; and in November I had to swallow my pride and get a lovely bronze-tone cane in order to get out of the house (where stairs have been involved).  The "new" leg was buckling, which was something the "old" one, no matter how badly it was smashed up, did.  The buckling has died down (after I made yet another "imaginary brace" for that area.  I've read that with some ligament stuff there's even debate about whether surgery does much good anyway.  Right now I only use the cane for the steeper basement stairs, so that's about two months since I first did the most recent one.  Before I did this recent thing I'd progressed enough to be able to use, and benefit from (muscle-strength-wise) "The Wave" (the rocker thing by The Firm).  As recently as a few weeks ago I had someone lecture me on why I should go let a doctor "fix the old injury right".  (What the hell isn't "right" about "just about good as new and getting closer by the day?"   roll  Some people just can't imagine that there's such a thing as a) natural healing, and b) managing something oneself provided someone is in tune with things like her own injury, some basic information, and exercises that are good versus those that will make things worse.

    An orthopedist once told me (when I was twenty) that I had a touch of arthritis in the fractured knee and that I'd almost certainly need knee replacement at around thirty-five.  That didn't happen.  In fact, signs of arthritis went away completely.  I've walked as much a hundred or so miles a week for years (not these days, needless to say).  Last Fall (before the November thing) I'd just started walking a few miles at a time again.  I really think that blend of keeping the injury at least a little active without overdoing it - ever - makes all the difference in the world.

    My main message in all this is that it's entirely possible after one (or a few) hecks of an injury in/around the knee area to get back to good as new again.  One thing I know is that I used to be so thrilled (at my age) with being so limber and flexible, I didn't think twice about swinging limbs from left to right without any thought.  These days (and maybe for a good long time), I think to use that "imaginary brace" and move those knees more deliberately and carefully.  Not more slowly - just with more thought and awareness. 

    Hope you feel better soon, Habee (or anyone else on here who has had this kind of thing).  I don't want to create false hope for anyone, but I think it's important, too, for people to at least consider that sometimes when it seems something can't possibly get better; with some paying attention, (and aspirin or Ibuprofen) and some carefully selected exercise routines there's such a thing as getting back to good as new (no matter who is in "late middle age" and who isn't   smile  ).  I think sometimes doctors have to tell people the worst-case scenario just so they don't give false hope.  Sometimes, though, it's not so much a matter of "false hope" as it is genuine faith in the body's ability to heal and in one's own ability to be tuned in and committed to getting back to good-as-new.   Now that the November thing is very much showing signs of being on its way out, I'm super, super, happy to finally - in all this time - feel myself walking as if none of it ever happened at all.  No more step stools by my chairs.  Shoveled blizzard off my front stairs yesterday.  As anyone who reads here can probably tell, I feel like "the real me" is finally back and don't that "real me" for granted.   hmm  As for all those people who questioned my "stubbornness" and "ignorance" (and the one who had the nerve to suggest that I might want to consider assisted living "not because of age but because of that one longer term leg thing"  yikes   yikes   yikes     Well, people can probably guess what I'd like to say to them.   roll  (Actually, the other day I found something on Mayo Clinic's site about "self treatment at home" for this kind of injury; so it was good to see that self treatment is actually a "legitimate" and recognized approach. )  Of course if you already know you have a cartilage issue and cyst issue, I'm guessing there's only so much you can do with "home treatment".   hmm   Fortunately, the November thing seemed to progress fairly quickly.  There are symptoms of a meniscus tear, but I didn't even go to find out what it was.  I'm just so sick of it all.  I figured I'd go if it didn't improve fairly quickly on its own (and with my being careful about moving it - that is once I could move it at all again).  The ligament involved with that particular one is the ligament on the inner side of the knee, but there's also an issue along the outer side of that knee as well.  It's fine, though.  It's getting better; and it got reasonable enough within about a week or ten days.  Since then it's just kind of been a painful inconvenience, rather than debilitating.

    As for the pain, I'd say to find a position that is most comfortable and keep it in that position until it's no longer comfortable.  Then find another position until it feels a little better again.  Personally, I can't imagine putting ice on any of it.  Heat helped (sort of) with the "old" one.  All I'd have to do is open my door to the cold weather (or walk by the cold dairy case in the supermarket) to get both of them acting up.  Oh well...   I don't know if any of this is at useful in any way.   Oh, I figured out, too, that making sure the edge of any chairs aren't "cutting off" circulation makes a big difference.  Sitting a little forward and stretching out the legs is better than letting the back of the leg/knee lean on the chair edge.    I figured with my "part-time job" of dealing with leg injuries I may as well try to offer my own experience.   Anyway, you have my sympathy.   Goodness knows it's all just one big hoot to deal with isn't it...    hmm