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  1. #1
    Bulking Up marmadukemas's Avatar
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    How long should I wait to see if my Meniscus recovers on its own?

    I hurt my knee 6 months ago (probably meniscus tear), it has gotten better, but still have some nagging pain (probably only 60-70 %). I am wondering if after this length of time is there still a possibility that it could heal on its own or is medical treatment my only option?

    6 months ago I was doing some 200M interval sprints on a track. I think the curvature of the track encouraged me to place to much stress on my left knee as I was sprinting to finish. I did about 5 of these when I started to feel something in my left knee, so I knocked off at that point.

    I should mention that I was towards the end of a 9 week cycle and going into the heaviest part of my cycle. My leg workout consisted of heavy legs presses (heavy for me), leg curls, leg extensions, calf raises. A few days later my knee felt fine, and I went to the gym for my normal workout. Did a couple of warm up sets, no problem, but as soon as I started to go heavy, on the leg press felt a sharp pain in my left knee. Called it quits, came home iced, elevated my knee, and took it easy.

    For a couple of weeks after that I had a hard time walking up stairs, running was completely out. I tried doing very light stuff on my legs in the gym, but ultimately decided to just stretch and work on balance, & used a foam roller to massage the muscles and let things recover.

    After reviewing these articles at WebMD I am pretty sure what I have is a meniscus tear. I can only speculate as to how bad it is though.
    http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/m...topic-overview
    http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/s...-torn-meniscus

    It has been over six months now, I am getting better, but not healed. I can run again although I have keep them pretty short and light -no sprints and back to doing low rep squats and leg presses again. But there are times when I stand for long periods of time that my knee really hurts again, and certain movements, like stiff leg dead lifts are a bad idea.

    I am not opposed to going to the doctor, but my experience with doctor visits is most of the time they just waste hours of your day doing all these tests that are never conclusive and in the end tell you to just take it easy and let it heal. So I am wondering, if after 6 months it is still bothering me does that mean it just isn't going to heal or if I give it another 6 months is there still a possibility it could heal on its own? If there is any possibility it will heal on its own I would like to give it a few more months, but I just don't know how long is long enough.

    Does anybody else have any experience with this they can share?

    thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
    Registered User dirtyram's Avatar
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    I tore my medial meniscus in my left knee right before I turned 23. I went to the doctor within a couple weeks and started on anti inflam/pain medicine, used the RICE method, etc. A few weeks later a saw an orthopedic surgeon and did some tests, then got an MRI that later revealed a tear. He recommended either a partial menisectomy or the conservative route of PT work. I did about 3+ months of physical therapy instead. It took almost a year since it happened to feel "normal." I still have pain here and there, but nothing terrible.
    Does your knee lock out or click at all since the injury?

    My question to you is, the moment you figured/ discovered something wrong with yourself, why did you seek not out a doctor!? I am a person who places my health at the highest priority and anything that will set me back physically or keep me from training, I find out how to overcome and correct it immediately. Being that you are a someone who trains/lifts/exercises, why would you be stubborn in approaching this? Go see an orthopedic surgeon, explain what's going, do what you have to do to heal your injury!
    Good luck OP! Next time, don't overlook an injury!
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  3. #3
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    Unfortunately, I have way more experience with a bad knee than I'd like. Blew my right knee out playing football in 1986 and had it reconstructed then (MCL, ACL and torn meniscus). Have had 2 surgeries since then to "clean up" and deal with additional meniscus tears. Last surgery was in March 2010. My understanding (and experience) is that meniscus tears don't "heal". Rehab/PT does help.

    If it's still bothering you after 6 months, I think you're long overdo to see an ortho. At least you'll know for sure what you are dealing with. Even if you do have torn meniscus and surgery is recommended, it isn't terrible. I was back in the gym 5 days after my operation in March 2010 and back to 100% in about 6 or 7 weeks.

    Get some recommendations for a good ortho and get it checked.
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  4. #4
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    As long as your Dr. tells you.
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  5. #5
    Registered User HairyScandinavian's Avatar
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    If it's still bothering you after 6 months you should see the doc and have it actually looked at/diagnosed. My wife tore her meniscus playing soccer, that sheet is no joke if that's what it is and with constant movement it seems that it would reinjure itself repeatedly. Most people will have the torn portion removed, if it's real bad but they're lucky like my wife's it'll get sewn back together. The recovery for removal is a piece of cake, huge PITA if it's stitched. Good luck.
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by beancntr View Post
    My understanding (and experience) is that meniscus tears don't "heal". Rehab/PT does help.

    .
    This is what I was told too. I had mine scoped years ago, and it was great. I recently tore something in there again, but it was very minor (MRI confirmed), and once the swelling went down, I was able to go back 100%. But, the tear is still there, and will be forever. Unless it gets worse, I am not planning to get it fixed. It does not bother me anymore. My first one was very serious, and had to be fixed.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Halfway's Avatar
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    Why haven't you had an MRI in 6 months? You can pay $400 or so cash for the scan if you don't have insurance.

    Some tissue injuries can be helped to heal with PRP+growth factor injections but they are costly and might not work if you have an actual meniscus tear (rather than the tissues around it). You're correct that regular dr's are an utter waste of time, but there are a tiny number of practitioners out there who can perform miracles.. its up to you to find them, though

    get an MRI!
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  8. #8
    .. Brackneyc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Halfway View Post
    Why haven't you had an MRI in 6 months? You can pay $400 or so cash for the scan if you don't have insurance.

    Some tissue injuries can be helped to heal with PRP+growth factor injections but they are costly and might not work if you have an actual meniscus tear (rather than the tissues around it). You're correct that regular dr's are an utter waste of time, but there are a tiny number of practitioners out there who can perform miracles.. its up to you to find them, though

    get an MRI!
    Wow, cheap MRIs in your area. Between my wife and I, we have had 4 in the past 6 months. Not one of them was under 1400.00. Cash price was not much less.
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  9. #9
    Registered User HairyScandinavian's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brackneyc View Post
    Wow, cheap MRIs in your area. Between my wife and I, we have had 4 in the past 6 months. Not one of them was under 1400.00. Cash price was not much less.
    When my wife had her meniscus surgery a buddy of mine told me to call around and get quotes from hospitals. I didn't bother, we took her in to the one doc said to go to on the scheduled day and had it done. Later on after getting the bill I got curious and I called a few and found that there were a couple that were willing to make me great offers to use their services. MRI's are likely no different, that machine doesn't make them any money sitting there doing nothing.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by HairyScandinavian View Post
    When my wife had her meniscus surgery a buddy of mine told me to call around and get quotes from hospitals. I didn't bother, we took her in to the one doc said to go to on the scheduled day and had it done. Later on after getting the bill I got curious and I called a few and found that there were a couple that were willing to make me great offers to use their services. MRI's are likely no different, that machine doesn't make them any money sitting there doing nothing.
    My hunch is that the "reading" of the MRI is a lot of the cost involved. With that said, I have yet to have an MRI that was done within a week of the referral, which leads me to believe they aren't sitting there doing nothing most of the time. We live in an area of 400,000 people, so that may be part of the reason.
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  11. #11
    Bulking Up marmadukemas's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for all the thoughtful feedback, this has been very helpful.

    Originally Posted by dirtyram View Post
    I tore my medial meniscus in my left knee right... then got an MRI that later revealed a tear. He recommended either a partial menisectomy or the conservative route of PT work. I did about 3+ months of physical therapy instead. It took almost a year since it happened to feel "normal." I still have pain here and there, but nothing terrible.
    Does your knee lock out or click at all since the injury?
    No it does not click, fortunately.

    Originally Posted by dirtyram View Post
    My question to you is, the moment you figured/ discovered something wrong with yourself, why did you seek not out a doctor!? Why would you be stubborn in approaching this? Go see an orthopedic surgeon, explain what's going, do what you have to do to heal your injury!
    Good luck OP! Next time, don't overlook an injury!
    No excuse really, but a couple of extenuating circumstances. I was on my way to Europe like 3 days later, and as soon as I got back I had another work event that took a week to deal with, so I couldn't even think about making an appointment until nearly 3 weeks after the injury and it had started to get better by then. I have had minor tweaks to my knee in the past, but always recovered within a week or so. Plus I live in the middle of nowhere, so making and appointment in the city takes some effort. All lame reasons though in hind sight.

    Originally Posted by beancntr View Post
    Unfortunately, I have way more experience with a bad knee than I'd like. Blew my right knee out playing football in 1986 and had it reconstructed then (MCL, ACL and torn meniscus). Have had 2 surgeries since then to "clean up" and deal with additional meniscus tears. Last surgery was in March 2010. My understanding (and experience) is that meniscus tears don't "heal". Rehab/PT does help.

    If it's still bothering you after 6 months, I think you're long overdo to see an ortho. At least you'll know for sure what you are dealing with. Even if you do have torn meniscus and surgery is recommended, it isn't terrible. I was back in the gym 5 days after my operation in March 2010 and back to 100% in about 6 or 7 weeks.

    Get some recommendations for a good ortho and get it checked.
    Do you mean that even if it was operated on it might not get back to 100%? Wow that is discouraging.

    Originally Posted by Halfway View Post
    Why haven't you had an MRI in 6 months? You can pay $400 or so cash for the scan if you don't have insurance.

    Some tissue injuries can be helped to heal with PRP+growth factor injections but they are costly and might not work if you have an actual meniscus tear (rather than the tissues around it). You're correct that regular dr's are an utter waste of time, but there are a tiny number of practitioners out there who can perform miracles.. its up to you to find them, though

    get an MRI!
    I do have a good ortho facility nearby and I am have a doctor appointment next week. I will ask for the MRI and see where that leads me.

    Like DirtyRam said I was probably mistaken to not get it checked out, but I honestly haven't needed to see a doctor in over 10 years. I go to my regular check ups every year, but any issues I have been able to intuitively work through them.
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  12. #12
    Bulking Up marmadukemas's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HairyScandinavian View Post
    If it's still bothering you after 6 months you should see the doc and have it actually looked at/diagnosed. My wife tore her meniscus playing soccer, that sheet is no joke if that's what it is and with constant movement it seems that it would reinjure itself repeatedly. Most people will have the torn portion removed, if it's real bad but they're lucky like my wife's it'll get sewn back together. The recovery for removal is a piece of cake, huge PITA if it's stitched. Good luck.
    Yeah I hope I can be as lucky... it has been feeling a lot better since I have been able to keep off of it the last few weeks. I've even been able to run a couple of times a week (just couple of miles). But then all of a sudden I will do something that irritates it and sets me back a week. It seems to be locking my knee out that causes the most difficulty. The SLDL move is something I have to avoid, and leg presses I have to take it super light and easy.

    Originally Posted by HairyScandinavian View Post
    When my wife had her meniscus surgery a buddy of mine told me to call around and get quotes from hospitals. I didn't bother, we took her in to the one doc said to go to on the scheduled day and had it done. Later on after getting the bill I got curious and I called a few and found that there were a couple that were willing to make me great offers to use their services. MRI's are likely no different, that machine doesn't make them any money sitting there doing nothing.
    Good advice... I do have insurance, but with budget cuts, they are upping the co-pay. My son broke his collar bone last winter, it was really a minor injury fortunately, but we went to his 3 week follow-up and the doctor never even came in an saw us, it was just the tech who looked him over and said he was fine. A week later they sent me a bill for $250 which was the part not covered by my insurance. I just think a lot of medical stuff is a scam to get money out people using fear based techniques.

    Originally Posted by Brackneyc View Post
    My hunch is that the "reading" of the MRI is a lot of the cost involved. With that said, I have yet to have an MRI that was done within a week of the referral, which leads me to believe they aren't sitting there doing nothing most of the time. We live in an area of 400,000 people, so that may be part of the reason.
    I am pretty sure there are several facilities close by, I will ask for a few referrals and check the prices before hand as well.

    Thanks again everyone for the great feedback. Reps to you all [smile]
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  13. #13
    Registered User HairyScandinavian's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by marmadukemas View Post
    Good advice... I do have insurance, but with budget cuts, they are upping the co-pay. My son broke his collar bone last winter, it was really a minor injury fortunately, but we went to his 3 week follow-up and the doctor never even came in an saw us, it was just the tech who looked him over and said he was fine. A week later they sent me a bill for $250 which was the part not covered by my insurance. I just think a lot of medical stuff is a scam to get money out people using fear based techniques.
    I agree with you 100%, we rarely ever go to the doc and that includes the kids. Heck I think it's been 2.5 years since anyone in the family has been to the doc and that was appendicitis on the middle kid so not much choice. We also already knew what it was so skipped the $150 regular doc bill and called ahead to the children's hospital and went in for the surgery (doc confirmed everything once we got there of course). Some people go to the doc every time they get sick and I'll never understand that, you get a cold and go to the doctor to tell you it's a cold and it has to run it's course or they give meds that might help with symptoms a little and you pay out the nose for it LOL. A torn meniscus, however, IS something you need medical attention for. We've gone through the broken collar bones too, no cast or anything just a couple of visits to the doc to check up on things, but this was the family orthopedic and we paid cash for just a general office visit each time.
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    trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000) trae15 is just really nice. (+1000)
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    I had the very same symptoms. (it had gotten to the point where walking alot hurt) I went to a Sports Med doc - he diagnosed me w/ a torn meniscus and xray confirmed.
    The prescription he gave was PT. I was bummed there wasn't an easy and quick fix but I went to PT and amazingly the problem was my lack of really stretching. Particularly the IT band and hamstrings. Since then my knee problem has ceased.

    Try really stretching (not cold muscles - though)


    The therapist told me that by not stretching the IT band and hams they are pulling against the knee in tightness. (which with age and normal wear and tear is bound to create some problems)

    hope this helps.
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