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Author Topic: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?  (Read 47480 times)

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Offline will1129

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Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« on: July 28, 2009, 02:51:37 AM »
Hi guys I'm new here. I had arthroscopic surgery about two months ago to remove my plica and scar tissue from my knee. About four weeks afterwards I was walking without pain, and after six weeks my knee was feeling relatively well, so I decided to go back to the gym. I started by doing light weight lifting, bike machine, and elliptical. Then I progressed into swimming a few times a week.

However, now its a little over two months after surgery, and I'm experiencing some knee pain, and a fair amount of "cracking," where after sitting or standing my knee cracks without pain upon moving, much like your knuckles crack. The cracking was present before I started working out, but not as much. I called my doctor's office, and they said its likely just inflammation, and to take it easy.

At this point, two months post-surgery, I expected my knee to be fully healed and for me to resume my normal physical activity. Then I looked online about recovery time for plica surgery, and I started coming across some horror stories of people saying that their knee is worse then it was before. I will say that my symptoms prior to surgery (knee locking and popping upon flexing) are mostly gone now.

So do plica surgeries have a longer recovery time than normal meniscus surgeries? Am I overdoing it by working out too often? Sorry if this was rambling, I'm just a little concerned at this point.
Deeply regret having knee surgery...hoping it can be fixed.

Offline will1129

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2009, 10:36:32 PM »
No one has had plica surgery?
Deeply regret having knee surgery...hoping it can be fixed.

Offline kirsty

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2009, 07:01:09 PM »
hi
i had plica rescection yesterday, they went in thinking it was torn meniscus because i ad pain and locking of the knee but once in they found my meniscus was ok and it was the medial plica that was causeing the problem .

im just searching the net to look for recovery times but not found anything yet.

how long was you on cruches for? and how long before you could walk properly or drive?
xx
medial plica resction 31-7-09

Offline bluesky

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2009, 10:20:48 PM »
I had plica and meniscus surgery 2007. The surgery went well although I did have problems regaining strength.

I am again having problems and working on scheduling a return to the OS.

Hope all goes well for you.

Offline gillyb

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2009, 10:57:24 PM »
Hi,

I had an arthroscopy for a med meniscus tear 5 weeks ago. A thick medial synovial  plica was found and removed but had not been diagnosed prior to surgery. I also had a debridement of the patellofemoral joint and the medial tibiofemoral joint. I was fully weight bearing immediately and my ROM was nearly full within the week. But my muscle strength is dire!

However I still have some pain and 'cracking'with movement and walking even short distances everything gets very tight and painful. My physio says everything is okay and progressing normally. My exercising is confined to the pool and static quads. He specifically told me not to start on a bike or cross trainer yet. I quizzed him about this as I am getting frustrated with the slow speed of progress and would like to push more even if it does hurt.
 
I don't know if plica resection gives any special problems - just figured it was the combination of all of the above!

Good luck with your recovery.
gillyb

Offline will1129

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2009, 03:53:03 AM »
kirsty- I walked out of the surgery center per the surgeon's orders without crutches. (Don't know if this was a good idea or not) I was never on crutches except a week after surgery when I ventured out to WalMart.

bluesky- You said your surgery went well but now you are having problems. Was your knee back to 100% for a while and now you have a new problem, or does your problem stem from the surgery? Also, if you did fully recovery after the surgery, how long did it take? Did you experience the knee "cracking"?

My knee is still cracking a bit, but not quite as bad as a week ago. There is a little bit of pain, especially when I turn sharply to the left when walking (left knee operated on). I called my surgeon this past week and he said I'm dealing with the scar tissue he smoothed out, and that this is normal for plica surgery. He also said it usually takes 3-5 months to fully recovery. My guess is I'm dealing with some inflammation too, because usually when I touch my knee the skin is really warm.

I'm just hoping at this point to make a full recovery soon, because to be honest at this point my knee feels worse than it did before the surgery. And I'm also nervous about all the stories I read online about plica surgery not working for people, and leaving them worse than they were before and unable to participate in sports. But who knows, maybe that's the minority, because most people with successful surgery wouldn't bother talking about it online. I just want to feel better and move on with my life at this point. Anyways, I'm gonna try and stay positive, and good luck to you guys in this thread who just had surgery. I'll keep you updated on my progress.  ;)
Deeply regret having knee surgery...hoping it can be fixed.

Offline kirsty

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 06:34:14 PM »
hi
how long before you went back to work? (i have to walk all day at work so bit worried)
how long before before you ad full movement back without pain andhow long before you could kneel down?

xx
medial plica resction 31-7-09

Offline will1129

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2009, 09:20:42 AM »
I returned to work two weeks after the surgery. I had quite a bit of pain walking around again during that first week.

About eight weeks after surgery my knee was feeling fairly well, with good movement, and about 80% full strength. But then I spent two weeks going to the gym almost everyday, and boy did my knee not like that. Now it hurts again, movement is limited, and only about 50% full strength.
Deeply regret having knee surgery...hoping it can be fixed.

Offline bluesky

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2009, 01:03:29 AM »
I've had trouble with the knee since surgery. I never regained strength in the knee, but no cracking.

Sometimes when I walk or turn the knee gives away.

I learned a week ago that I have moderate narrowing of the lateral joint space of this knee.

Offline djlicari

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2009, 02:26:39 PM »
similar slow recovery for me...plica resection and medial meniscectomy (30%) about 2-3 weeks ago, in a knee that had been symptomatic for about 8 months pre op.  felt decent until i went back to work 4 days later - up on my feet walking around a hospital for 9 plus hours a day...that has increased the soreness for sure.  playing around with some bike and eliptical, but that has seems to aggravate some of the medial/posterior discomfort sim to pre op symptoms.  my surgeon has told me that over-doing it won't "hurt" anything structurally, but that going back to work/activity so soon will like turn a 6-8 wk recovery into a longer road.  that said, he didn't ask me to take more time off, just stated the fact that it will slow down my eventual recovery...shoulders and other non weight bearing joints heal much more quickly, but knees/hips/feet/toes take longer since we can't really rest them as well.

i must say that it is frustrating to feel the same symptoms as my pre op discomfort, but my PT wife keeps trying to remind me that the surgeon directly irritated those areas in the process of cleaning things up, and that it will take time for that to settle down...and only then, will the joint start to have it's ability to return to a normal joint.  the post op swelling, inflammation, etc just irritates and already irritated knee. 

orthopedic friend of mine has said that simply going into a normal knee and not even doing anything (eg a diagnostic scope) will usually lead to considerable discomfort for a while post op - so, shaving and trimming things inside a knee with problems to start with will only compound matters for a while. 

the exception is the rare person with a simple meniscus tear that is causing a lot of pain, who gets that fixed right away...their joint may return to a happier situation pretty quickly -- still with the usual post op irriitation, but less problems than pre op.

fun to read everyone's stories, though.  we all heal at different speeds.

Offline crankerchick

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2009, 03:35:34 PM »
haven't read the whole thread yet, but i wanted to post my experience. i had plica excision in mar 2007. i too thought my recovery was slow, but everyone is different and in the grand scheme i would say mine was 'average.' i went home on crutches as needed. I mostly didn't use them, but i took them with me in case i would need them. my pain level wasn't terrible. i started pt 1 week post op, but had exercises to do at home starting on post-op day 1. i don't remember my numbers but i believe when i started pt i had at least 90+ degrees ROM.

i returned to work 4 days post-op but i ahve a desk job. it was pretty uncomfortable due to the stiffness, but i survived. i didn't experience much pain, just mostly stiffness and that discomfort of having to bend and achieve range of motion. i did suffer a bit of patellar tendonitis (my pt said my doctor had me doing leg extensions a bit too soon) but it was manageable. i feel like it took me longer than normal to walk without the limp.

By 6 weeks i was back bowling (just practicing) and i played in a 9 game tournament at 8 weeks post op. as long as i didn't bend too far (left knee, right handed bowling), i was ok. after the tournament, i took another 2-3 weeks off to continue to strengthen and stretch my quad. it takes a while to recovery from the effects of the surgery. i remember being up to a year out before i felt like the extreme points in ROM were achieved (like hyperextending, squatting, etc were still a bit 'good-pain' painful up to a year out).

just take your time. everyone is different. push yourself, but don't overdo it. some stuff just takes time.

by the way, my leg seem "pop" and "crack" a bit more after the surgery. although, my knee is still jacked up so maybe that is why.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2009, 03:40:31 PM by crankerchick »
Mar '07 - plica excision
Oct '09 - femoral + tibial derotational osteotomy & TTT
Aug '10 - hardware removal
"You control your leg. Don't let it control you." -Smart trainer
"Get your a$$ in gear and go for it! Nothing will happen until you make it!" -Smart doctor

Offline brokenwheel255

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2009, 09:43:08 PM »
Hello,
I am new to post so plese excuse any (dumb questions/statements). I had a mri/ then a artogram(that hurt like you would not beleive). After arthogram started with pain meds got really bad upset stomach so bad wanted to go to hospital. Then I had surgery on the 25th of june it was a possible med meniscus tear. After the surgeon went in he found thickend synovial plica, grade 2/3 chrondromalacia of the patella, and degenerative fraying of later meniscus. I told surgeon that i still had pain went throught therpy in pain then they just sent me for a FRE test because he cannot belive i am still in pain. I am a tile setter by trade got the best knee pads out there but i am frustrated by the setbacks . I have been out of work for 7 months now and still in pain. Walking down steps is very scary but it seems to me that he just dont care!

Offline sarbah77

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2009, 03:30:51 AM »
I've had my plica removed twice now and... my recovery was MUCH longer than my dad's for his ACL repair.

I should note that I'm 32 and relatively healthy/in shape and he's neither. :)  He walked out of his surgery and I was kept out of work for a week.  I was on crutches for that first week and then I used my cane for another 2-3.  At this point, I'm... 11 weeks post op and I would say I'm fully recovered from surgery.

However, that was my second surgery!  My first one obviously left behind/ended up with some scar tissue (and then the danged thing grew back, to my surgeon's dismay!), which caused trouble in the end.

But like crankerchick said, everyone is different and heals differently.  For me, I hustled into strength training before surgery but then took 7 weeks off (beyond the prescribed P/T) before I started again.

Unfortunately, I'm only moderately helpful, since during plica removal #1, the OS found cartilage damage and #2 was also partially a way to check out how the knee looked, as I now am scheduled for a tibial osteotomy next month.
-Sarah

11/16/10 - plate removal, FINALLY
4/5/10 - no, really, crutch-free
2/1/10 - crutch-free!?
10/13/09 - HTO opening wedge
6/26/09 - arthroscopic plica removal
4/06 - Synvisc/cortisone injections
7/5/05 - arthroscopic plica removal & surprise microfracture

Offline will1129

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2009, 12:10:24 AM »
Thanks for sharing your plica surgery stories everyone.

It's almost four months after surgery, and while my knee is better than it was two months ago, it's still worse than it was before surgery, which is kind of scary to be honest.

It isn't cracking as much, and feels a bit stronger than two months ago, but the strength is not all the way back yet, and going down stairs still kind of hurts. Like one of the other posters, the pre-surgery "popping" on the outside of my knee is still present, after the leg is straitened and then flexed. (Although I guess the popping is somewhat diminished, who knows)

Anyways, I'm trying to stay positive, but it's hard when you're four months removed from surgery and your knee is still worse than it was before the surgery. Sometimes I wonder whether I made a mistake in getting it done. My surgeon says this type of surgery takes 3-6 months to fully recover from, but from what I've read online and from you guys it seems that this type of thing could take up to a year. I'm just praying it gets back to "normal" at some point. But I am very slowly improving, so hopefully that's a good sign.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 12:17:51 AM by will1129 »
Deeply regret having knee surgery...hoping it can be fixed.

Offline est06

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Re: Plica surgery- Slow recovery or cause for concern?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2009, 08:58:53 AM »
Hi Will

I was just wondering how your knee is now? You sound in a similar position to myself - I had plica removal (medial supra-patellar and infra-patellar ) on June 23rd, so Im at 16 weeks now. The knee feels worse than before surgery, I can get about ok, but running is out of the question. I used to cycle a lot, and now am able to again, with just a bit of pain. There is a snapping band of soft tissue at the medial side - further round from the original band that I had assumed was the plica. the surgeon has said it may take up to a year for this to remodel.  MY physio has assured me that it will get there, and is hopeful that I shoudl be running by xmas.

How are you getting on now?