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Old 06-25-14, 09:36 PM  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Lateral Meniscus Tear Surgery

Hi, everyone. I finally got to see the orthopedist today, and he told me I'm going to need surgery to remove part of my lateral meniscus in my right knee because it's a bucket handle tear. The problem with a meniscus tear like this is that one wrong move with the knee can cause your knee to lock into place, which has happened to me twice in the past month or two. I hurt my knee on April 12th, and at first my primary doctor didn't think there was anything serious wrong with my knee because it was so stable. Unfortunately, it didn't heal like it should have in a month, so then there was the wait for the insurance with an X-ray, and then the wait for the MRI.

Have any of you had this kind of surgery before? I feel better after talking to the doctor that this kind of surgery doesn't have a long recovery time. He told me I could even put weight on the leg right after surgery, and it would only require 2 or 3 weeks of physical therapy. I hope that's accurate! It's been killing me to not be able to work out.

Any success stories or encouragement will be much appreciated!

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Old 06-26-14, 04:12 AM  
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Near Rochester, NY
I've had it, and recovery was pretty easy for me. A day or two of going up and down the steps on my rear end, but other than that I was weight-bearing as tolerated. My surgery was 5 years ago.

The surgery worked in that it stopped the "locking up" that you describe, but I have since given up running, stepping and have minimized my impact.

I can still lift weights, spin, do yoga, kickboxing, hike, swim etc..

The day of surgery is pretty quick and easy for most people (I'm a nurse in a same-day surgery unit and see this surgery all of the time). Most patients don't even require more than over the counter medicine for pain. I hope that's the case for you!

Good luck!!
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Old 06-26-14, 07:25 AM  
Kathy G
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
My husband had this surgery a couple of years ago and he was up and moving around in a day or two. He used a cane to lean on the first day but didn't need it by the second day. He went to PT a couple of times and then he just asked for a printout of the exercises and did them on his own at home. I think it only took 2-3 weeks for him to be at 100%.

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Old 06-26-14, 07:46 AM  
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Madison, WI, USA
I've never had it. I did have two co-workers that had it. I didn't know anything about the surgery...I just knew they were having knee surgery so I expected to see them hobbling around for a while. They were both looking pretty normal in a week. (That's not to say that they could do a full workout. I was just amazed that after knee surgery that they could look so good fast.) They both are still regular runners.
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Old 06-26-14, 08:13 AM  
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Netherlands
My mother had that surgery when she was in her late 60s. She didn't miss much (if any) work and kept her normal busy schedule. She even walked all over Italy with me a few months afterwards. Her scars are so tiny that they aren't even noticeable and even despite her advanced age (now in her early 70s) she doesn't have mobility problems or pain. She did go to PT for a few weeks afterwards, but didn't skip a beat as far as life goes.
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Old 06-26-14, 08:54 AM  
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the woods near a river
I had a large bucket handle tear 13 years ago. Two doctors told me there was nothing wrong and one of them told me I was wasting his time. Because of those guys it was two years before I mentioned it to anyone else. I heard it tear and it was swollen all of the time but they insisted it was fine. It would constantly lock up but I became an expert at unlocking it.

Recovery was easy enough. You'll be fine with that if you do what they tell you. Because my tear was large they had to take 2/3 of the meniscus. I went bone on bone within 3 months. I don't mean to scare you but knowing what can happen is better than going in blind.

Hoping for a quick and easy recovery.
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Old 06-26-14, 11:54 AM  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Thanks so much for all of your responses! I know I really don't have a choice about the surgery, because I certainly don't want to live with the restrictions I have now, and worrying about the knee locking up. My husband was with me when we saw the doctor, and we both got a good feeling about him.

Frostyjan, I'm glad to hear that you're back to most of your regular workouts, but can you tell me why you gave up step workouts? I have so many Cathe workouts that include the step, even her low impact series, that I was hoping I could still include some step into my workout routine, but just keep it low impact. When I go back for my follow-up appointment, I'm going with a list of different workouts that I used to do, and see what the doctor thinks. I wonder what he'll say about the rebounder.

LindaH, I'm so sorry that no doctor was listening to you about your symptoms. Living with this for 2 years must have been driving you crazy! Did any of the doctors do an MRI to confirm that you had real damage to your knee? From what I've read, letting this condition go can increase the damage to your knee, especially if it keeps locking up and swelling. I'm so sorry to hear you went bone to bone in three months.

So thanks again, everyone, for your responses. I can always rely on the wonderful people on VF to help me out!

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Old 06-26-14, 12:06 PM  
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My DH has had that same surgery on both of his knees at different times several years ago. The recovery was very quick, he had a few excercises to do, and the only post op issue he had was some swelling in one ankle. He wore a knee height compression stocking off and on for a few months and it resolved. I assume he needed to build some collateral circulation. He was a runner and can no longer run, but he can walk for hours and does a lot of cycling. His knees never bother him at all.

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Old 06-26-14, 12:11 PM  
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the woods near a river
Sue - once I found a doc that would listen they did an mri. It was my fault I waited 2 years but when a jerk of a doctor tells you you're wasting his time it makes you want to never go to a doctor again. Even when it tore on a Memorial Day I didn't go to a dr. I'd just been to one the Friday before for my back pain. For the third time he said, "if this happens again you'll need an mri," and he gave me pills. Since I already had pills I didn't see the point. My fault.
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Old 06-26-14, 01:37 PM  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Pam, thanks so much for your response. One of my main concerns is that I'll be able to walk and stand on my feet for my husband and I to do the traveling I've been putting off for one reason or another. I always told him, "Don't worry. I take care of myself. I'll be able to walk when I'm 65." And then I do this to myself at age 52!

If I can walk long distances, do my weights and low impact aerobics with no pain, I'll be a happy camper.

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meniscus, meniscus tear

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