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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 03:19 PM Thread Starter

 
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Meniscus Tear / MCL Injury (Ongoing Thread)

I've seen a few threads on the board regarding knee injuries, so figured I'd start a thread for the sake of adding searchable info, so, if anyone has a similar issue in the future, they've got some info.

This injury recently happened, so I'll start the thread with what has happened thus far, update through surgery, and during my recovery to give a glimpse into what it all entailed for reference.

So I hurt my knee playing hockey. I was behind the goal and as I turned to skate back to the net I felt a strong tweak of my MCL (inside tendon of knee). I was limping pretty good and had sharp pains. A week later though, I was playing with my dog when he jumped on me causing the knee pain to become excrutiationg. So, I went to the ER.

The ER prescribed pain killers and crutches, and sent me to an orthopedic. After plenty of research, I decided on a referal from Wink (Dr. Freedberg). I visited the doctor a week after my ER visit. I had a locked knee (could not extend it straight) along with pain just below my knee cap to the right and pain to my MCL (interior tendon of knee). He sent me for an MRI the same day, and the results came back just as we thought. The pain was very bad when the injuries first happened, but slowly got better. At this point, I'm just over a week out of the ER and the pain is really not that bad. I obviously have limited mobility but my leg is extending farther and farther each day, and although sleeping was difficult at first, it is not a problem now. The pain has been just below my knee cap to the right, and the inside side of my knee, and usually only occurs when I try to twist the knee. Occasionally I'll have some overall "aching" of the whole knee area. This happens about once or twice a day.

I have a bucket handle tear in my meniscus, along with a 2nd tear to the miniscus (oblique tear reaching under surface of the red/white zone of the posterior horn). The bucket handle tear is basically whats keeping my leg from extending straight. From the beginning I told my g/f that it felt like my knee opened up, a tendon fell in, and now my knee can't physically close because somethings in the way. The doctor confirmed this, saying there's 2 reasons that happens. One is that the tendon is injured and the pain won't allow you to straighten (not my case, the pain is not so bad), the second is that the meniscus tears and falls into the knee joint basically, causing the knee to be unable to physically straighten out.

The MCL is in tact but tweaked. The MCL's heal on their own, so nothing I can do but let the MCL heal. The meniscus tears do require surgery, and I have surgery schedule for next week.

I'll update the thread with how surgery goes, with the findings, fix, and details on the recovery (I can tell from my research most people are interested in how long it will take to become 100%).

Could use some thoughts and prayers. Hope all goes well. Shouldn't be too bad though.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 06:34 PM
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Good luck!!! I tore my acl 14 years ago and never had surgery. (shit load of therapy and time though) I tweaked the mcl this past april. Not a 100% but it'll do for now.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 07:21 PM Thread Starter

 
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Good luck!!! I tore my acl 14 years ago and never had surgery. (shit load of therapy and time though) I tweaked the mcl this past april. Not a 100% but it'll do for now.
Thanks.

Sucks to hear. From what I've read/been told. It's all about the physical therapy. If you put your time/work into it, you'll get a lot.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 07:31 PM
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Good luck with the recovery. I've had 2 surgeries on the left and 3 surgeries on the right so I feel your pain. (meniscus tears w/bi-lateral releases)

Be religious with the therapy and you'll get back to normal in no time, skimp on therapy and it'll be a long road to recovery.

I've never known anyone who recovered 100%, close but not quite. I'm really interested in how things turn out since I've been due for surgeries again for a few years but too scared to have them done.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 11:48 PM
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Good luck Peter. Who'd you go with?

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 12:26 AM
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I had a total knee replacement in Nov of 2008. I took a spill in Dec and tweaked my MCL. They put me in a brace today. The x-rays were normal, but MCL is tender, and there is a little more play in the prosthesis. I was given some strength training exercises and the brace. I was told it would heal in 4-6 weeks.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 09:14 AM Thread Starter

 
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Good luck Peter. Who'd you go with?
Went with Dr. Freedberg. I really do like his direct approach. Seems after further research that he's one of the guys you'd want operating on you if you had the choice, so going to go with him. Thanks for the input. He remembered/s you.

Since 1 of my 2 tears are the bucket handle, I've got to go in for surgery right away. It's not going to get any better on its own so might as well get it fixed asap. Going in on Friday.

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I had a total knee replacement in Nov of 2008. I took a spill in Dec and tweaked my MCL. They put me in a brace today. The x-rays were normal, but MCL is tender, and there is a little more play in the prosthesis. I was given some strength training exercises and the brace. I was told it would heal in 4-6 weeks.
Yeah, guess that's the treatment for the MCL. I've read a lot of good stuff about following "RICE" for the MCL and that that really works well (Rest Ice Compression Elevate). Since the MCL heals on its own, if you help it with RICE and train it, you should be good, but it takes work I guess.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 11:16 AM
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Good luck with it!

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 11:58 AM
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Good luck.

I ripped my MCL off the bone. That one doesn't heal by itself

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-25-2010, 11:14 AM Thread Starter

 
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Good luck.

I ripped my MCL off the bone. That one doesn't heal by itself

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Ouch. How are you doing now?

Titanium...classy!! Very nice.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-25-2010, 11:33 AM
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Tore my Meniscus (lateral) when I had my Tib/Fib fracture in June of '07. I had the meniscus surgically repaired during the surgery to repair my leg. Had the knee immobilized completely in a brace for 6 weeks to let the meniscus heal, 3+ months total in the brace, 5 months on crutches/cane.

I just had another surgery in November to remove the hardware.

The meniscus is kind of a wierd injury...seemingly something that wouldn't impact range all that much but it really does. Make sure you hit the PT hard and stay regimented. I still don't, and probably never will, have all my range back but I did get most of it...but it was/is a long road.

Good luck!

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-25-2010, 12:59 PM
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Ouch. How are you doing now?

Titanium...classy!! Very nice.
Every once in a while i notice it (can't really say it hurts).
I have a full functionality i my knee.
It felt quite numb for a long time, and it took a while until i could kneel down and sit (how do you call that) like , but on the feet, knees bent.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-25-2010, 04:30 PM Thread Starter

 
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Good luck with it!
Thanks!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CerkMX View Post
Tore my Meniscus (lateral) when I had my Tib/Fib fracture in June of '07. I had the meniscus surgically repaired during the surgery to repair my leg. Had the knee immobilized completely in a brace for 6 weeks to let the meniscus heal, 3+ months total in the brace, 5 months on crutches/cane.

I just had another surgery in November to remove the hardware.

The meniscus is kind of a wierd injury...seemingly something that wouldn't impact range all that much but it really does. Make sure you hit the PT hard and stay regimented. I still don't, and probably never will, have all my range back but I did get most of it...but it was/is a long road.

Good luck!
Yikes. I don't think I could go with having my leg be immobile for that long. I would go crazy!!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by PolishPete View Post

Yikes. I don't think I could go with having my leg be immobile for that long. I would go crazy!!
Indeed

Coming off the drugs was brutal...all my energy came back instantly with no damn outlet for it!! I had to just sit on the couch and take it

...people brought me burritos and Taco Bell though, which was nice

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 11:25 AM Thread Starter

 
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Post surgery update.

Well I had the surgery about 2 weeks ago now.

The Surgery:

I was a bit apprehensive about this as I have not ever had surgery previous to this, and didn't know what to expect. Specifically, I was worried about the anesthesia. I received a lot of different responses on here and from searching the net on what to expect. There are a lot of different individual situations, so knowing exactly what to expect can be difficult, so here's my story.

I arrived at the hospital on-time, and went through the standard operating procedure of filling out the paperwork, changing into the gown, getting setup with an IV and all that. The anesthesiologist and then the doctor/surgen came by to discuss and see if I had any questions.

After that they pushed some "feel good" drug into my IV, which didn't really make me feel as good as they said it would. My body felt really heavy, and I guess I felt a little drowsy. They wheeled me into the operating room, which was just a big room, typical of what you would thing an operating room looks like. They had dance music playing (my kinda style), so I thought to myself, ok this isn't so bad. The anesthesiologist told me they would put oxygen through the mask he put on me, then then stuff to knock me out. He put the mask on, told me this was the oxygen we talked about, asked me to take a few breaths, and I was out by the 4th breath.

Next thing I know, I wake up in the recovery room. I looked around, looked at the clock, thought to myself that I was tired and would take a nap, so I did. Woke up an hour later, tried to get the nurses attention so they saw I was up, asked what time it was, and we basically just started talking normally. They saw I was good to go, so wheeled me out back to where I was before the surgery, where my g/f was waiting. I made sure to eat the cookies and drink the apple juice real quick so they saw I was back to normal, and they dismissed me pretty quick.

I was worried about the drowsiness, puking, light headedness, coming in and out, etc when I woke up (per people's experiences on this board). For me though, I just woke up, totally normal, and ready to go. They expected me to leave about 3:00, but I left at noon. (my surgery was scheduled for 10:00, and they wheeled me in at about 9:45).

The surgery went quickly, only about 20 minutes because the doc said my meniscus had a lot of degenerative damage. They removed about 70% of it (not good for me later in life), but they had not choice as they said fixing it would be an attempt in futality. Thus, I was up and walking the same day. If they fixed it, I would be healing for a long time. Since they removed the damage, there's nothing to heal but the damage the did by going into the knee.

Damage to the knee isn't bad. The surgery is arthroscopic so 3 small insertions, 2 of which are about 1/2" long, maybe less, and the third I can't even locate anymore.

Last edited by PolishPete; 02-11-2010 at 11:56 AM.
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 11:50 AM Thread Starter

 
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After Surgery:

We stopped to pickup lunch on the way home. We made an extended trip to the closest Sonic as I love there cheeseburgers and since I hadn't eaten since the night earlier...I was totally craving them.

After we got home, my g/f went to pick-up my pain meds. Before she got back though, whatever was in me from the hospital began to wear off. My entire knee area throbbed like crazy. Some massive pain, worse than the original injury. Took another 1/2 hr for the pain meds to kick in. Throughout the entire process of the injury/surgery, this was the worst pain I would feel. After that, I set my phone alarm to go off for each time I needed meds. I didn't want to be asleep and forget and wake up with that pain again.

I was taking 2 pills every 4 hours for the Friday (surgery day) and Saturday. Saturday night I started weining off the meds. Started with 1 pill every three hours, working my way to 1 every 4 hours, then by Monday I was really taking any. While on the pills (Fri/Sat/Sun) I was extremely tired. I slept on and off, about an hour at a time for the entire day each of the days, and slept normally at night. I couldn't be on my feet much because they made me light headed, so I spent the majority of the time on the coach. (thank God for theater seating!! Very comfortable.)

They told me in the hospital that I would have a sore throat after the surgery due to the oxygen tube and the abbrasion it would cause in my throat/roof of my mouth. This was very annoying. Since I came off the meds for the most part by Monday, my throat was killing me. Every swallow hurt straight through my ears. Couldn't eat for about a day and a half, then realized that if I took one pill every 5 hours or so, I could at least get by eating, still with pain though.

My surgery was on a Friday and I was back to work on Wedneday the following week.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 11:54 AM Thread Starter

 
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Physical Therapy:

Started phycial therapy a week and a half after the surgery, when they could get me in. Doctor recommends 2 to 3 times a week for 4 to 6 weeks. My range of motion is pretty good considering, so we're hoping 4 weeks should be good for me. So far doing the excersices they gave me to do at home, plus now going to PT.

Not much pain overall. Mostly my range of motion is affected. I cannot completely bend my legs (no squatting) and I can't completely straigten it either. They say the bend will come back no problem, but we have to work on straigtening it because that's the part that could be problomatic. If we don't get that range now, it won't come back and I wouldn't be able to straigten it completely in the future. So I'm doing as they say so I can get back to 100%.

I think that's all for now, I'll continue to update the thread as I see fit. Any questions or comments, let me know.
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-15-2010, 02:28 PM Thread Starter

 
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Update after 3 physical therapy sessions.

Range of motion is starting to come back pretty nicely. I can now walk down stairs comfortably, though not 100%. I still need to take good care and pay attention while going down. A week ago I could only go up the stairs, now I can go both ways.

My good knee bends to 147 degrees. The operated-on knee bent to 111 degrees at my first session. By the third session it was to 140 degrees. So getting a lot closer to my good knee very quickly.

So progress is going well, no complaints.

Apparently my hockey legs/butt play a large role in the muscles in the surrounding areas recouping quickly, quicker than expected.

Ironically, one of my college hockey trainers also works out of that physical therapy location. She currently also works with a doctor downtown who does meniscus cadaver replacements. Hopefully by the time I need it, which undoubtedly I will eventually in the future, they'll have that procedure down to a science, or even through in some man made meniscus. There's hope anyway that I won't need the whole knee replaced, though with 70% of the meniscus out of there, it will wear more quickly now.
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