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Author Topic: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.  (Read 1889 times)

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Offline mississauga greg

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New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« on: October 04, 2010, 06:00:40 PM »
Hey folks,

Just found the site after searching the web for information.  I've been told I've torn my meniscus a month ago, and have been hobbling around on crutches since.  (down to one crutch though now)  The swelling seems to be down, but I can't put much weight on the leg at all.  I'm going crazy trying to find out how much trouble I'm in moving forward as I am active in my job - I have a security alarm installation company and haven't been working since.  My MRI is set for mid-December and I'm trying to get one done sooner.

I haven't been able to see a knee specialist yet as I'm told I can't until I get the MRI done - so I'm basically being told to wait to figure out what I'm supposed to do.  I've started physio last week and it seems to be helping but I'm worried about surgery and the overall outcome.  Any helpful advice from people that have/had a meniscus tear??

Thanks in advance everyone!
Greg  (or hop-along as I'm being called now)

Offline eaglemom

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Re: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2010, 06:27:58 PM »
I'll be the first to go here! Sorry your here, but lots of folks with lots of experience are on this board.  I think we all need a little more information. 

Who diagnosed the meniscus tear? How did they come to that conclusion? Did that person put you on crutches?  What about the pt you are doing? 

I'm alittle confussed and really need "a bigger picture" if you will as to exactly whats going on.  I'm not a doc/nurse/pt/etc - been on the board a long time.  4 surgeries worth - as stated there is lots of information here.  Good luck and fill in if you can.  eagle

Offline Vickster

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Re: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2010, 10:22:14 PM »
I agree with Eaglemom.  Who diagnosed the tear if you've not seen a knee spec (GP, ER, physio?) - there are some quite distinctive symptoms (pain, swelling, locking, buckling, how it was done) but normally an MRI is needed to do so definitively.  You may have other stuff going on - how did you injure yourself?

Some tears if they are small and in the bit of the meniscus with the blood supply can heal themselves, but if they continue to play up they normally need a repair or trim (depending on the extent of the tear, location, state of the meniscus, your age etc).  I think medal tears (inside of the knee) have a better prognosis than the lateral ones.  I think they are all more prone to re-tearing once the damage has been done.

I tore my lateral meniscus and had keyhole surgery (arthroscopy) after 5 months as the symptoms weren't improving, I had reasonable pain (but didn't need much medication), was able to limp around unaided from the off but the knee wouldn't straighten and would buckle when walking (most disconcerting).  I did have other stuff going on having injured my knee in several ways.  About 10-15% was removed and I can now straighten my leg- couldn't be repaired as my meniscus is quite degenerate (I was 37 at the time).  My knee isn't healed properly but that's not down to the meniscectomy.  In terms of pre-op (if you need surgery), it is always best to get the quad muscles especially as strong as you can, so make sure you do the exercises that the physio gives you. 

The post op regimen depends on the surgeon and also what is done.  A repair normally has to be protected more than a trim to allow the repair to take, so would likely be on crutches for longer.  I was on crutches for a week pretty much solidly for a week (partial weight bearing) and weaned off over the next couple of weeks.  However, a colleague of mine had his trimmed recently and wasn't on crutches at all - definitely varies from doctor to doctor.

Meniscus ops are fairly straightforward and as long as not too much is removed, you should be fine after 4-6 weeks (it is usually general anaesthetic - at least in the UK- and day surgery - I was in and out of hospital in around 9 hours)- .  My OS said that the symptoms are quite easy to resolve surgically, straightforward pathology.  I think the problems arise if there are other injuries (which an MRI should hopefully show) - I bruised the bone and damaged the articular cartilage on my thigh bone which is the root of my ails!

There is a good meniscus section in the information hub ^^^

What country are you in by the way? UK and NHS - gone the physio route rather than the surgical route from the GP?  If you are really concerned, perhaps try to see a surgeon privately (get the GP to refer you to a good knee OS locally), worth it for peace of mind and you can then get onto the NHS list if surgery is needed.  Probably looking at around 500 for a consultation and MRI - might be worth the outlay if you can get back to work sooner :)
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
2nd scope on 16/12/10
RK arthroscopy on 5/2/15
Lateral meniscus trim, excision of hoffa's fat pad, chondral stabilisation
LK scope 10.1.19 medial menisectomy, trochlea microfracture, general tidy up

Offline mississauga greg

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Re: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2010, 08:26:19 AM »
Ok, to give the background.  I am 39 living in Toronto Canada, pretty active and I thought, in good shape.  On September 7th, I was helping a friend move a washing machine and was crouched down, moving it into the corner, but he lost grip on his end when I was pushing so I took the extra load and felt a slight pressure in my knee, but didn't hear anything pop at all.  After about 10-15 seconds, it was fine.  Later that night, my knee started tensing up and the next day I put a tensor bandage on and limped around for the next 3 days.  I finally went into the hospital, they examined me, diagnosed the meniscus tear, and did an x-ray to make sure there was no bone chips (and there wasn't)   They gave me the crutches and sent me on my way.  Unfortunately they didn't tell me anything else and I just thought it was like a sprained knee or something.  A week later, after no improvement, went the the family doctor and he ordered the MRI but hasn't sent me to the specialist yet.  My original MRI was set for late December, but I managed to get one at 4:30am tomorrow  (thank GOD)

I've read up quite a bit so far, but until I get the MRI results, I'm working blind I guess.  I started physio last week and have only been 3 times so far.  Right now, she's working on flexibility and strengthening my leg again since I've lost a lot of muscle tone already.  Everyone seems to go along with the meniscus tear prognosis so far but I haven't had any locking up of my knee - just pain on the inside of the left knee, swelling, and it feels like the knee is giving way when I put weight on it sometimes.  I'm still on one crutch but the PT wants me to get rid of the crutch before my next visit to her (this thursday).

Offline mississauga greg

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Re: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2010, 11:14:00 AM »
It's 5:30 am here and I just got back from my MRI.  I have to wait 7-10 days for the official report but I asked the tech doing the MRI what she thought and she seems to think that I have a partial meniscus tear on the outside edge (somewhat good), but that I also have an ACL tear at the top end as well.  Now I'm just starting to read up on ACL issues since I haven't as of yet.

Anyone else had both the meniscus and ACL tear??   How screwed am I now????

Offline Vickster

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Re: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2010, 11:47:35 AM »
They seem to be quite common together.

In terms of how screwed you are, depends on how bad any ACL tear is and whether you need a surgical reconstruction.  If not too bad, is probably a matter of time to heal.  With the meniscus, depends again of the size of the tear and the state of the tissue generally as to what the next course of action might be.
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
2nd scope on 16/12/10
RK arthroscopy on 5/2/15
Lateral meniscus trim, excision of hoffa's fat pad, chondral stabilisation
LK scope 10.1.19 medial menisectomy, trochlea microfracture, general tidy up

Offline mississauga greg

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Re: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2010, 08:40:24 PM »
OK, I'm pretty surprised to have my results from the MRI already, but this is what it says:

There is an oblique tear posterior horn of medial meniscus which reaches the central third of the inferior articular surface.  The tear extends into the peripheral third of the inferior articular surface of the body of the meniscus.  The lateral meniscus is intact.

THE ACL, PCL, MCL, lateral collateral ligamentous complex and extensor mechanism are intact  (THANK GOD!!  phew)  There is a small fissure of the cartilage of the posterior common nonweightbearing surfact of the lateral femoral condyle.  The cartilage appears otherwise preserved. 

There is a 1.9 x 0.6 x 2.5 cm Baker's cyst

So, luckily I didn't do any damage to the ACL but the meniscus is torn in two directions if I'm reading that correctly.  The family doctor didn't give me much info other than saying he would make the referral to the OS and that I was going to need surgery to fix this up.  So now I'm playing the waiting game until I see the OS. 

Will they drain the baker's cyst at the time of surgery as well?  And what issues is this causing me?   I didn't even think to ask as I was happy there was no ACL damage, and I was being rushed out of the office.

Offline Vickster

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Re: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2010, 09:02:41 PM »
Good news that the ligaments are intact.  Not sure where the 2 tears come from - reads like the meniscus is torn and that there is a little damage to the articular cartilage (the stuff covering the bones), but NWB and otherwise good.  Some damage is pretty common especially as people get older!

Hopefully, the meniscus will be able to be repaired, if not trimmed.  The medial meniscus tends to be less problematic post op than the lateral I think.  Ref the Baker's cyst, I think that often once the issue causing it (i.e. the tear) is sorted, the cyst may resolve.  Question for the OS.

Good luck :)
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
2nd scope on 16/12/10
RK arthroscopy on 5/2/15
Lateral meniscus trim, excision of hoffa's fat pad, chondral stabilisation
LK scope 10.1.19 medial menisectomy, trochlea microfracture, general tidy up

Offline mississauga greg

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Re: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 04:44:35 AM »
Thanks for the posting!  From what I understood so far, it's actually a single tear into the meniscus that changes direction part way in.  Hopefully I won't have too long to wait to see the OS.  I've also read that the baker's cysts normally drain themselves out once the cause is removed, but do most OS's leave them alone when they're inside doing the repair work?  It just makes sense that they would remove the cyst at the same time of repairing the meniscus.  Is there a standard?  or maybe common thought on this?   

Offline eaglemom

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Re: New to site with meniscus tear...worried.
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2010, 05:17:57 AM »
Its been my understanding, that if the surgeon is in there anyway, he"ll take the Bakers cyst out.The cysts are usually cause because the knee isn't working properly.  In your case I wonder if the cyst was there prior to you helping your friend move the washing machine or not.  Some do go away on their own, some do not.  Your doc can try to drain it - I've had several drained.  One brought immediate knee pain relief which lasted less than 2 days and was back (I wasn't walking properly).  The next time I had relief maybe a week, then it came back.  Its frankly going to be up the the surgeon what he want's to do.

I will say I've even had a huge ganglion cyst in my knee.  WAs on the joint line and hurt like...................poo.  When it was removed the surgeon said he'd never seen one this big & it had long tentacles so it was rough to remove.  That has not come back - but it is totally different that a Bakers cyst.  Don't rush to have it drained - chances all it won't stay drained, so why bother. 















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