Some background: I'm 26 and only began exercising two months ago. I'm petite and not overweight at all, but I finally decided to join the gym to tone up. I trained in gymnastics from age 3-10 but have no real athletic background.
I've always had knees that popped and clicked but they rarely got stuck (I can count on one hand how many times they've gotten locked or gave away since I was a child). I was told I had discoid shaped meniscus and as a result I'd never be able to really compete as a gymnast.
After joining the gym and starting with yoga and pilates and working my way up to power hours, spinning, and boot camp, my knees began clicking constantly after a kickboxing class. I had taken a spin class the previous night and I'm guessing somewhere between the two classes with shuffling my feet and standing I did something. Then, my left knee began to feel as though it wasn't quite in the right place. I took some days off, did the whole RICE thing, and went right back to the gym while taking care not to extend my knees too far or hurt them more.
My knees had begun to lock up and catch/get stuck even in simple yoga poses so I went to the OS who sent me for an MRI. Didn't think anything would be terribly wrong, but the MRI came back with the following:
LEFT KNEE (where I have the most pain): Discoid lateral meniscus with a complex tear...large horizontal compoenent extending anteriorly from the body to the anterior inferior articulating surface. Everything else was normal.
RIGHT KNEE: Complex tearing of the anterior horn and body of the medial meniscus with a flipped fragment posteriorly. Complex tear of the posterior horn medical meniscus as well.
Obviously, I will be seeking out second and third opinions for surgery. The OS wants to operate, one leg at a time. I am young, active, and a wife and mother of a young child and this scares me. I had plans of running the ING Miami half marathon for charity and obviously now I can't. The OS's nurse (the OS is so bad he couldn't call me or recommend anything himself!) told me I can push it off for up to a year depending on my pain and mobility. I still go to the gym 5-6 days a week but haven't run on the treadmill or otherwise in weeks because my knees give way. On Friday, after 45 minutes on the elliptical I walked off it and my left knee buckled. I feel my balance has been affected by my knees (in doing strength exercises where I once was very strong) as well. I've been taking it easy in the workout department but the knee issues don't go away.
Has anyone had experience with bilateral meniscus tears at such a young age? People have told me I can live with it for years but I don't want to compromise my newfound love of fitness. I would definitely be willing to go through with surgery if it means I can continue to work out unaffected. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, since I'm hearing no surgery from friends and yes surgery (obviously) from the doctor. In a way I would rather have surgery and not continue waiting with PT and whatnot. The OS did not recommend PT, as he felt it wouldn't "undo any damage" (nurse's words).