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Author Topic: Can one stop meniscus degeneration, or even revert it?  (Read 2994 times)

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Offline jkb

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Can one stop meniscus degeneration, or even revert it?
« on: April 20, 2012, 04:22:57 PM »
Hi,

I have recently gone through a partial meniscectomy which removed about 40% of my left lateral meniscus. The reason for the tear: I have a degenerative meniscus. Which made sense considering that the onset of the problem came slowly over time instead of a trauma.

It was shocking to hear it. I am just 32 years old, and lead a healthy lifestyle with moderate gym workouts 3-4 times a week, with no impact sports that could cause a meniscus tear. In addition there is no family history of arthritis or such a meniscus degeneration.

I'm now starting my rehab process, and worry much about what could happen in the future. I do feel some pain every now and then in the other knee, mainly above or behind the patella. And now that I know about the degenerative problem, I start worrying that there is another meniscus tear just waiting to happen.

What can be done to avoid this? I heard that PT can help by strengthening the muscles around the knee. But is that really the case? Can strong muscles really offload the forces away from the menisci to help prevent tears?

But really, what I am most curious about:
- Is there a way to stop meniscus degeneration, or even revert it? Any foods that might be good? Or any medical treatments that could help?
- Is this degeneration usually localized to the menisci, or is it some sort of disease that might affect other joints in the body? What causes this degeneration after all?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Cheers,
JKB
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 08:43:29 PM by jkb »

Offline SarahLu

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Re: Can one stop meniscus degeneration, or even revert it?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2012, 11:16:41 PM »
Hi, I have had two partial meniscectomies on my right lateral meniscus because of meniscal tears, most recently in Feb this year for a degenerative tear. I am 38 and my meniscus first tore when I was in my early 20s. I was also pretty shocked by this as I didn't think I had put that much extra strain on them. To be honest, I think my menisci and knee cartilage is just not too good (my mum has always had problems with her knees too). I was treated on the NHS and received next to no information about what had been done or what kind of state my joint was in following the op other than being told I had developed 'some osteoarthritis'. Like you, I want answers to the same sorts of questions and have recently written to my consultant asking a whole series of them. If I get a reply and there is anything that might be of interest to you, I will pass it on.
But in answer to your question about the benefits of building up the muscles - this is VERY important. I am now seeing a physiotherapist because post-op I've developed grinding and locking in my knee (which is still puffy), which she thinks is because of the muscle loss to both quads and hams. Muscles working optimally support the joint and hold everything in balance and alignment. It is essential to get the muscles working as well as possible. This will support the knee and help reduce the likelihood of further tears, but there is always the possibility that once the meniscus is degenerating you will get more problems. I was very careful with my knees for 15 years before the second tear (no high impact activities, no sudden twisting movements, etc). It's not possible to grow back the meniscus naturally- once it's gone it's gone. However, there are newer techniques of meniscal transplantation and replacement (I have asked the consultant about these in my letter). Degeneration of the menisci is specific to your knees, this is a different kind of cartilage to the hyaline cartilage on the articulating surfaces of the bones. Your knees take the greatest strain of all the joints, which is why they are more prone to wear and tear, but I don't know why some people's menisci are more prone to degenerate earlier than others' - I wish I did!! It may have developed because of alignment problems (I am apparently slightly knock-kneed, which may have been a factor in my problem).
Anyway, hope this helps to some degree. I definitely recommend getting some physiotherapy to build up the muscles.
1997 partial meniscectomy right knee
2000 smoothing of cartilage behind patella right knee
Feb 2012 partial lateral meniscectomy right knee & diagnosis of OA

Offline jkb

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Re: Can one stop meniscus degeneration, or even revert it?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2012, 09:52:58 PM »
Hi SarahLu,

Thanks for your post! It is somewhat comforting to hear there are more people out there with the same doubts.

Please do post here again once you hear from your consultant. I would really like to know if there is something one can do to stop or even revert meniscus degeneration.

In the meanwhile, I've been working out the knee following the tips of my PT, and that has been helping a lot in the recovery. I have another post about my recovery here if anyone is interested: http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=59310.msg573373#msg573373

Cheers,
jkb

PS: how did your second tear happen by the way? Just wondering since you said you had been careful to avoid risky activities...

Offline SarahLu

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Re: Can one stop meniscus degeneration, or even revert it?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 11:46:01 PM »
Hi JKB, glad to hear your recovery is going well with the PT.
No reply from the consultant yet and I've just received a letter telling me my second follow-up appt is being changed to a date when I'm away - annoying!
Just a quick reply to your question. The second tear was done while I was weeding on our allotment; I had been squatting down for some length of time but was standing periodically to stretch legs - on one of these occasions as I went to stand straight, I felt something 'move' or  'go' in my knee and then intense pain on trying to straighten the leg, so had to get about with leg 'locked' at an angle for 2 weeks until it straightened out again. It's possible I may have twisted it slightly under pressure from rising from squat to stand, I don't know - or just that squatting was simply putting too much pressure on an already degenerating meniscus. I am not planning ever to squat down again that far anyway....and I really regret risking doing it in the first place...
1997 partial meniscectomy right knee
2000 smoothing of cartilage behind patella right knee
Feb 2012 partial lateral meniscectomy right knee & diagnosis of OA















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