So, at this point, it’s been 10 months since I tore my medial meniscus, or at the very least, irritated the hell out of it. And I have to say, I’m just about healed. There has been a newer research coming out that suggests the long term outcomes for meniscus tears are the same for surgery as they are for conservative care. In my case, the research was correct.
My final criteria for my knee was being able to ski, and I was able to do that with no pain, or after-activity pain. I have been able to run up to 3 miles now, from only being able to run about 20 feet in October. I have full knee ROM (range of motion) with no joint line pain. I am able to do some deep squatting, but I really try to avoid this position when possible. I was able to dance at my wedding in September. I am able to hike downhill without pain. I am able to work my 12 hour clinic days with no pain. I call that a success!
Strength in my right leg is still lagging behind my left, especially the hamstring. Mostly what I mean by this is when I go on a four hour bike ride, the hamstring is quite a bit more sore and tired. This will take time to come around, but hopefully sooner than later to enjoy some epic mountain bike trips this summer.
I still feel some vague joint line pain, but this is becoming more infrequent as I become more active.
I’ve had a few people, some of them colleagues, think I was a little crazy to try to start running again, especially since running is not my main form of exercise. I admit it was a little bit of a risk, but I had this crazy thought that alternate compression and distraction of running was just what my knee needed. Since a good portion of the meniscus does not have a great blood supply, the portions of the knee gets nutrients by diffusion. If running could help get nutrients to parts of the knee that were injured, this may help my recovery.
With all this being said, some meniscus tears absolutely need to have surgery. I must admit, there were times when I really thought I was heading in that direction. It is still possible that there is a “time bomb” waiting to happen. But considering my choice of recreational activities, injury is always a risk.
Now I’m really looking forward to summer and I look forward to living in the moment!