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Old 09-28-2005   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 112
M is for Meniscus - Torn that is

Anybody ever dealt with one these?

Seems to be many opinions on whether surgery to repair and/or clean it up is worth it or not? Would love to hear any war stories.

Also looking for a good knee doc on the Front Range, as the word on the street in these parts seems to be to avoid the ortho whose practice is here


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Old 09-28-2005   #2
Charc in = charc out
ToddG's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 475
My "repair" didn't work. It was super painful & sat me down for at least 6 weeks with tons of rehab.

I ended up back in 2 yrs later to have the damaged cartilege removed, after a curlicue from the re-torn spot wedged in between the bones of my knee & locked up my leg straight. It was weird. They cleared it out & i was cautiously riding a stationary bike a day later. Fully rehabbed in 2 wks. Hiking with kayak & overnnight gear in a month & a half. To date (6 mos. later), no further probs.

If arthritis sets in, I hope that they will have invented replacement knee shocks by then.

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Old 09-28-2005   #3
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 37
I tore mine three years ago - I'm not a doc, but heres what I remember - I tore it in an area that didn't have a lot of blood flow, so they would have had to shave away the tear. I got a second opinion, and decided not to have surgery. I got into a PT program at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, started doing yoga, and the only problem I have now is an occational loud "pop", but no pain, so I'm not too worried.

As for Docs - Dr. Paul in Boulder, or any of the Docs at the Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Vail (very expensive - but they are the best).

Good luck!!

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Old 09-28-2005   #4
Front Range, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 274
It's not exactly "shocks" for your knees, but you might try looking into UniSpacer-type options if you get desperate....

From what I understand, there's some research out there devoted to developing more pliable spacer options (hard-form silicone, etc), but I'm not familar names/ brands for those options. I'm sorry 'bout that...

Hate to hear about your injury... hopefully these guys can help hook you up with something/ someone who'll get you fixed up quickly!
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Old 09-28-2005   #5
Len's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 99
I had orthoscopy to repair a torn dicoid meniscus which was causing my knee to lock up (and all sorts of pain) last fall. The surgery was nothing. I was walking all over the place that same day, walking quickly up stairs the following day, and creeking less than 3 weeks later (easy new england shit).

The problem though, is that the surgery didn't do a damn thing to help. My knee still locks up when i bend it completely. I went back to the dr. and after an x-ray, he told me "I wouldn't wory about it". WTF! You ass hat - of course you wouldn't wory about it, it's not your shit locking up! Damn, that whole ordeal made me mad. I plan to find a real othopedist out here (not some joker in boston).

In sumery, look into options other than surgery. If you do go under the knife, it's nothing so invasive that you'll be feeling it much after a few months, but it sucks to not have it work.
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Old 09-28-2005   #6
Charc in = charc out
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Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 475
newby (do i need to append the "0616", or are you ok with just "newby") .. anyway thanks for the link. my knee feels great, better than it has in years, so i'm cool for now. i know that some research is being done in this field since it's such a common injury. just sayin' that by the time i'm old & totally shut-down, i'd hope that they'd have some kinda material to stick in my knees.

i put my surgery off forever on the advice of yoga-heads. took glucosamine, stretched, all that. it just kept tearing & swelling & hurting til i had to go in to have it fixed.

just know that with the "repair", you are totally non-weight-bearing for 6 weeks with a super long recovery after that.

having it removed, you're up & running same day & -- bonus -- you still get the same amount of vicodin.

you might also get a doc who wants to retain the option to do either procedure based on what he finds when he goes in with the scope. the mri can show only that there's damage, not how much/to what extent/etc. that's a roll of the dice, but chances are they will just clean it out.
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Old 09-29-2005   #7
ski/kayak bum
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
dr. foulk! right there in golden at Panorama ortho. best in the biz....better than those overpriced vail idiots. chamberlain in gunny did my first and did a great job, foulk did the second full rebuild and an addition acl and a final meniscus removal later the only pain i feel is when the weather changes.

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Old 10-01-2005   #8
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
....Bright lights and cold steel.....

IMHO, I would get it fixed- the sooner the better,(if you rehab fall/ winter you will probably be able get some spring turns in) just make sure and research not just a decent surgeon, but a damn good, reputable one that hooks up the us ski team or something....
as far as the injury is concerned, some people may be able to 'self heal' or whatever, but i would just add all that on to post surgery physical rehabilitation (glucosamine, arnica salve topically, and be sure to do at least @ six weeks of rehab with a therapist).
they have to do the surgical procedure (scope) just to look and see what is exactly wrong, so it's better to have just one appointment with the knife.... (getting scoped is about as minimally invasive as surgery gets, besides microsurgery or whatever crazy stuff they're doing with lasers these days) its three small inscisions: on each side of your knee, and somewhere in the middle, and they stick all the tools in therough there. a pencil sized tube with a video camera, a scalpel/ dremel thing inside of it, and a little vacuum to suck the floaties out.)
i have had both knees scoped after 15 yearsof snowboarding and all the other fun stuff we all do, (-until the late twenties when the feeling of invincibility subsides) looking out for the long haul and being able do this shit for the rest of forever is where it's at. chronic injuries suck- you don't want to tear more meniscus by trying to hobble it and maintain.excercising normally on an injury degrades the inside of your knee, and you definitely need that padding.(your own hopefully) leave the bionic stuff for the future, when its more established.

the first time i tore meniscus, i landed wrong off a 25-30 foot cliff (bad 16 y/o's judgement- just cause there was 3 feet of powder didn't make the landing any less flat-) that was in january, and i couldn't deal with bieng out for the rest of the season, so i rode it out, and my knee would pop, and lock up when i would move it wrong- laterally (not playing hackey sack or any squat type movements is a good idea for a while) i got surgery in april, and they took out 30% of the meniscus in my right knee. (it would have been less had i not rode all spring) the second time was coming up a foot short on a crappy gap jump at Ice-dora in 2000, but my left knee had been hurting all season (probably from favoring the other one). they took 10% out of that knee,cause i got fixed right away, out for the rest of the ski season.(apparently 00-01 was a an excellent winter snow-wise. my friends would tell me about it every day. ) by spring i was back on the river, guiding our bigger boats with 7 and 8 loads of the usual moderately plump (ha.) tourists on big water (for NM.) i made full recoveries from both surgeries and am glad i did it.
a good friend blew out his knee in CB like seven years ago, and never budgeted surgery, and it is definitely chronic for him- til he makes that appointment. granted he is a nut, climbing 15000 ft peaks in nepal, doing the rest of the trek in flip flops, snowboarding with a brace since he can't alpine, and climbing 5.12 (which i can't do even with two good knees). he goes for months just fine, hiking with a full trad rack,and rope in his pack, or a kayak or whatever, but all it takes is one wrong move, or jumping off of something, and he is out for 3 weeks, hobbled.

anyway i have been tele skiing 90% of the time for the last three winters, with full range of movement, even though i can't get super low all the time or any thing, but i'm not a badass like that anyhow (and hips below your knees is a another way to blow 'em out). and kayaking isn't an issue at all except squeezing into a playboat- but that is normal trauma...

my surgery was done by orthopedic associates of NM here in Santa Fe- they are very experienced with sports medicine, and i think two of tem are even endurance athletes or something. (not that there isn't loads of good surgeons in CO- theres got to be with that many more skiers than down here.)
i'd say the sooner you get it over with the sooner you'll be back on the hill and onthe rio....

i guess thats @ a dollar fiddy worth of my two cents.
btw, i dont work for a surgeon or anything, just a paramedic student who is grateful to be able to stay sane and do the sports that i love to do, however irregular it may be right now.

good luck....

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Old 10-03-2005   #9
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 112
thanks for all the input

MRI diagnosis is a complete tear of the posterior horn medial meniscus. still gimping pretty bad after 3 weeks and am now looking at surgery.

scheduled an appointment with a dr. fulkerson at boulder orthopedics and i'm hoping my ski season isn't shot.
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Old 10-03-2005   #10
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 11
go to vail!!!! they are by far the best. Even if it cost you more with your insurance they are worth it. Doc. Goitleb did my acl and meniscus, with rehab it will be in good shape.

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