KNEEtalk

The WAITING ROOM => GENERAL KNEE QUESTIONS and comments (good for new threads) => Topic started by: hoopsluv94 on June 27, 2020, 11:49:43 AM

Title: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: hoopsluv94 on June 27, 2020, 11:49:43 AM
Hi
This is just something I'd like to share. I'll have to leave out quite a bit of detail to not make this post too long.

The whole thing began when I injured my knee, December 2016, playing basketball. Went for a layup, landed on one leg (fully extended) and ended up taking a taxi to my dorm the same evening. A week later I traveled home for the holidays and the MRI revealed a lateral meniscus tear. The surgeon I went to, in Norway, told me my injury is nothing and that I probably do not need surgery. He also assured me I cannot injury myself further and should just do PT.

So, I did some strengthening for a few weeks and returned to running. I still wasn't sure whether my knee could withstand basketball movements, but running was easy. It was a temporary replacement for basketball, and it kept my mental health at check. I did it for about a year had zero pain, ache, swelling and no limitations as far as how long I could go. If I wanted to run for 2 hours, then thatís exactly what I did.

My only issue with my knee was that I couldn't fully extend it. The last 5 degrees or so were locked. And me being a dumb 23 year old, eager to get back to basketball and not knowing anything about a knee and its anatomy decided to have surgery. Since I had been convinced that my injury was, as described ďnothingĒ, I thought all I needed was a bit of clean up and I'd be ready to go.

Went to the same doctor for surgery, December 2017, which is to this day the most stupid decision Iíve ever made. It was all downhill from that point.

After I woke up from the surgery the doctor approached me and told me I had a complex rupture, that he removed 2/3 of my lateral meniscus and I could expect a lot wear and tear in the next 20 years. At the time I had no idea what that meant but every time I think about it now, I feel nothing but rage. He really screwed me over and I cant put into words how angry I am about it.

Now its close to 3 years later. My knee is constantly aching and burning. I'm not able to run, sit on my heels, or do anything I want. Have been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts and was at one point on the verge of dropping out of university. The most recent MRI is showing a cartilage defect, about 2cm^2, at the lateral condyle.

Iíve been to multiple orthopedic surgeons at this point and gotten so much conflicting information. The most recent one told me, as I asked him whether or not I have arthritis, that he considers what I have to be more along the lines of chondropathy since there are no osteophytes and the bone has not been affected. He also told me he sees no restrictions for my future, as far as basketball goes, and that the pain is mostly in my head.

What troubles me the most about my whole situation is the thought of having to switch to low impact cardio. I really, really, really hate and despise low impact cardio and Iíve tried pretty much all forms of it for the past few years. It just not something Iím willing to do long term. Activity modification is out of the question.

I need to be able to run, jump and play basketball to be happy, regardless of how old I get. So, its paramount that I donít develop advanced stage arthritis. I have problems sleeping at night thinking about one day walking into a doctorís office and being told I can no longer do the activities I love. 

Iím basically lost. The most important question is whether I can accomplish my goal which is to play basketball for as long as I want and live a pain free life. If not, there really is no point in doing anything.

Then there is the question of how I can accomplish this goal. One doctor told me I have to get a meniscus allograft ASAP and others have told me this is a bad idea and that I should just maintain my knee with strengthening exercises and injections.

So, I donít know what to believe. Any advice?
Title: Re: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: The KNEEguru on June 27, 2020, 04:23:54 PM
Hi
So sorry about all your problems. I think that you should attend the webinar we are running on July 1st (7:00 PM BST) on 'Meniscus Substitution' - here is the link to register - https://my.demio.com/ref/AofT8PIfuTAXpJwE

Two expert knee surgeons will be discussing pretty much your situation.
Sheila

Title: Re: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: SuspectDevice on June 28, 2020, 12:05:09 PM
Damn that was hard to read.  A surgeon who removes 2/3rds of the lateral meniscus in a 23 yo!  Did he not talk to you about the possibility of trying repairing the meniscus instead of removal?

Anyhow, it is done & dusted now.  My only thoughts are to forget about basketball for a few years & try to heal the damage slowly with a lot pf patience.  At just 23, your prospects for healing are high & much better than mine were at 50, but I got a lot of healing.

You might just have to accept low impact cardio for a few years (e.g. swimming, with minimal kicking), then slowly, oh so slowly work on building strength in your glutes/hips/hammies/core to take the load off your knees.  This is what I did after losing 1/3rd of my medial meniscus at 50 & spiraling down into 7 yrs of chronic dual knee pain (burning/aching/stiffness/loss of function).

It has been a long road, but at 23 your ability to heal is way, way better than mine was & I got there.

All the best.

Title: Re: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: hoopsluv94 on June 28, 2020, 09:52:40 PM
Damn that was hard to read.  A surgeon who removes 2/3rds of the lateral meniscus in a 23 yo!  Did he not talk to you about the possibility of trying repairing the meniscus instead of removal?

Anyhow, it is done & dusted now.  My only thoughts are to forget about basketball for a few years & try to heal the damage slowly with a lot pf patience.  At just 23, your prospects for healing are high & much better than mine were at 50, but I got a lot of healing.

You might just have to accept low impact cardio for a few years (e.g. swimming, with minimal kicking), then slowly, oh so slowly work on building strength in your glutes/hips/hammies/core to take the load off your knees.  This is what I did after losing 1/3rd of my medial meniscus at 50 & spiraling down into 7 yrs of chronic dual knee pain (burning/aching/stiffness/loss of function).

It has been a long road, but at 23 your ability to heal is way, way better than mine was & I got there.

All the best.



It was a pretty messed up situation where I was living in a different city and had a consultation with a doctor there then traveled to a different city, during the holidays, and had the surgery. Either way, the consultation I had was pretty much useless since the surgeon didn't give me a clear explanation about my knee and its status. The healthcare where I live is terrible.

As much as I hate low impact cardio, I am willing to do it as a part of the rehab process, just not long-term. Every time I read through some medical website and the terms "low impact sports" and "activity modification" comes up my heart just drops. Running and playing basketball is my source of happiness and without those things, life just becomes pointless.

The key question I have now is whether or not I should get a meniscus transplant. In theory, it seems reasonable. My goal is to get back to basketball, play about 6 hours a week for 8 months/year, for however many years I'll live on this planet.

The most recent surgeon I spoke to told me a meniscus allograft has too high of a failure to be considered useful for me. That I'm better off just focusing on physical therapy and getting supplementary knee injections.
Title: Re: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: hoopsluv94 on June 28, 2020, 09:54:30 PM
Hi
So sorry about all your problems. I think that you should attend the webinar we are running on July 1st (7:00 PM BST) on 'Meniscus Substitution' - here is the link to register - https://my.demio.com/ref/AofT8PIfuTAXpJwE

Two expert knee surgeons will be discussing pretty much your situation.
Sheila



Thank you.

I'll definitely join.
Title: Re: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: SuspectDevice on July 01, 2020, 09:02:53 AM

Running and playing basketball is my source of happiness and without those things, life just becomes pointless.

The most recent surgeon I spoke to told me a meniscus allograft has too high of a failure to be considered useful for me. That I'm better off just focusing on physical therapy and getting supplementary knee injections.

Mate, that's how I felt about triathlon, but honestly, after a few years, I adapted, found other things and am now at a point where I can race again, but only short races.  And I'm fine with that.

I've also heard meniscus transplants have a low success rate.
Title: Re: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: Brandon123 on July 01, 2020, 10:30:53 AM
Now its close to 3 years later. My knee is constantly aching and burning. I'm not able to run, sit on my heels, or do anything I want. Have been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts and was at one point on the verge of dropping out of university.

Long-term knee injuries/problems easily affect your mental health. And as many have mentioned on this forum, dealing with serious knee problems is just as much of a mental game as a physical one. With that said, if you feel depressed to the point that it interacts with your daily life and university studies, I think you should consider seeking some support from a mental health professional or student health care. These things are tough to deal with all alone, and sometimes it just feels overwhelming. And no wonder when your life is thrown up side down! So, please don't forget to take care of the mental side as well.   
Title: Re: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: hoopsluv94 on July 01, 2020, 11:16:54 AM

Running and playing basketball is my source of happiness and without those things, life just becomes pointless.

The most recent surgeon I spoke to told me a meniscus allograft has too high of a failure to be considered useful for me. That I'm better off just focusing on physical therapy and getting supplementary knee injections.

Mate, that's how I felt about triathlon, but honestly, after a few years, I adapted, found other things and am now at a point where I can race again, but only short races.  And I'm fine with that.

I've also heard meniscus transplants have a low success rate.

Well for me its also been a few years and I've tried other things. Cross trainers, stair masters, rowing machines, swimming, biking, you name it and I hated it all. Thats not how I want to live my life so its pretty much basketball or bust.
Title: Re: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: kawi_girl on July 01, 2020, 04:54:34 PM
Hello hoopsluv94

First let me say that I understand how frustrated you are. Basketball is your passion and you are grieving the lose of a huge part of your life. Anyone suffering from injury that keeps them from an activity or activities that they love will go through this, in varying degrees. Sending you a virtual hug.

Have a look at this website: injuredathletestoolbox.com
It has provided me with some guidance regarding adjusting my attitude and focusing on the things I can do instead of the things I canít. If you are really stuck you can even contact Heidi directly and perhaps she can offer you deeper insight and support.

I wish I could tell you that you will get back to playing one day. I canít do that, yet I can say that you are not alone in facing a loss like this. I myself never thought that I would be able to function without skiing, running and riding my motorbike yet here I am. While I havenít accepted yet that I will maybe never do those things again, I have been able to accept the NOW and take each day as it comes, with constant hope that I will find my way back to something. This is my hope also for you-at your age you still have good healing potential yet you need to treat yourself kindly. Focus on a healthy diet, good quality sleep, and look for a way to partake in gentle physio if that is possible yet. Read some self help books or look for motivational material online. There is lots out there yet you need to be open to it.

I know you are saying basketball or bust-I donít blame you for feeling that way! Itís completely justified and part of the process you need to go through. You will need to move beyond that though in order to start your healing journey, and I hope that you will be ready for that one day. Please get yourself some emotional support, you need and deserve that right now.
Title: Re: Could I please get some advice about my very messed up knee situation?
Post by: willp on August 15, 2020, 03:32:24 PM
Hi - I don't know if you're still reading replies to your post. I hope so. I just came across it and couldn't not reply, as your situation is so similar to what I went through over a decade ago.

I hope I'm able to offer some words of empathy and encouragement. I'll say at the outset that this is my experience only, and you may find that none of this resonates at all. I hope it's helpful, but it may not be.

My story is - I think - pretty well documented on here if you go back and read past posts. Like you, I was given a needless surgery. Like you, I was/am a sportsman. Your basketball is my running, and I simply can't imagine not being able to run. Nothing else has the same mental and physical release for me.

I developed pains after doing my - one and only -  marathon back in 2005. I'm British, but was living in NYC and was desperately naive about the financial motivations of the US healthcare system.  I was given a needless 'exploratory' surgery by a cowboy surgeon who only wanted my insurance money. He didn't refer me to physio afterwards (I didn't need it apparently!), and, at 36/7  I was left unable to walk and in severe pain, knee the size of a balloon, hobbling around NY on a cane. He removed my plica and also gave me a partial menisectomy (though I think smaller than yours). He completely washed his hands of me when the surgery failed. I subsequently discovered he had a $12.5 million award against him for permanently paralysing a woman's arm during shoulder surgery and needed every patient he could get.

I was profoundly stupid to have the surgery, and even now, many years later, I feel a white hot rage towards him. So I completely get your anger. It's justified and inevitable.

Like you, I was lost. I couldn't sleep, couldn't think about anything else. When I finally went to physio, she tried bending my knee back and I screamed in pain. I remember looking at runners and thinking what I would give just to run a mile.

I saw a couple of other orthos in NYC, and they couldn't explain what was wrong. I also think they were reluctant to criticise the work of someone they probably knew.

I was profoundly depressed. I can't say for sure (it was so long ago) but it's likely I too considered suicide.

But I'm aiming to give you hope - so what changed? Firstly, I went to a mental health professional who prescribed me a drug that specifically targets chronic pain. It was called Cymbalta. It didn't change my situation, but it changed my outlook, and allowed me to plan how I was going to try and repair my situation

Then, a friend gave me the best advice of anyone. Find the best knee specialist in the US, someone who deals with athletes, and go and see him/her. If they're not in your insurance network - pay, go into debt if need be. You're too young and running is too important to you.

So, long story short. I went to Dr Steadman in Colorado. He diagnosed me with arthrofibrosis, and confirmed I never needed my first surgery. I had severe quad wastage, and he told me the only solution was an operation to remove the scar tissue and then have six months (minimum) of intensive PT. I mulled it over, and saw no other solution.

Two months later I had the surgery, and stayed in Colorado for three weeks to begin my PT. I regard Dr Steadman as a lifesaver. The operation was a success. Though he ordered me never to run another marathon, in the last 13 years I've returned to running other distances, including half marathons. I run with a club, and last year I did my first half ironman.

My knee is currently giving me issues - that's why I'm back on this board. But that was always likely after two surgeries, and my current problem doesn't compare to 2006.

You have youth on your side, and that's a huge benefit. I don't know whether you're based in Norway, but I would recommend finding someone who truly, truly understands your passion to return to basketball. If they don't, leave the office.

Consider travelling within Europe for the right surgeon (if you can.) Meniscal transplant does seem to be a possibility for young athletes. This is not an endorsement at all, but Neil Bradbury in the UK has a video of his treatment of a 26 year old footballer who had a meniscal transplant and treatment for cartilage defects. It's on youtube.

If you can, get several opinions and weigh up the options. At 26, you have time on your side. It takes a year or so to recover from a meniscal transplant, and it seems far, far from easy......but my understanding is that younger people have a much greater chance of success. It sounds like your cartilage is in reasonably good shape despite the defect, and a meniscal transplant might help protect it.

So - my advice would be to focus relentlessly on return to basketball. It very likely can be done. Don't feel bad about the justified anger towards the surgeon, but balance it with a practical solution focused look to the future. Find a surgeon who shares your vision and has the documented skills to help you. (And doesn't say the pain is in your head.) If you can, talk to prior patients. Be prepared to travel for treatment. Your case sounds complex. And make sure you get proper mental health support, including medications if needbe.

I don't know if you'll even read this, but I wish you the very best of luck. You're young - you'll do this.