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Torn meniscus and osteoarthritis
shortstop88 posted:
I injured my knee almost a year and a half ago. It wasn't until last November that I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus and osteoarthritis. I saw a Rheumatologist in January of this year, who suggested that I go for extensive physiotherapy treatment and then see an orthopedic surgeon if there's no improvement after a couple of months. I went for physiotherapy. After a few months, when there wasn't enough improvement, I asked my family physician to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon for advice.
When I saw the surgeon, he said that I can either not have surgery and keep doing what I've been doing, which is to take pain meds everyday so I can sleep more than 3 hours straight at night (for years if I have to), or have surgery, but there's no guarantee and I will not heal completely because of the arthritis. He did not tell me which he would recommend. He also told me to stop going for physio because it would not help at all.
I told him I played sports including rollerblading (I played rollerblade hockey). He said I can do whatever I want, as long as I can put up with the pain, and there's nothing I can do to make things worse.
Regarding surgery, if I decide to have that, it would be a day surgery, and, even though it would be better if I take a few days off work to let the place of incisions heal, I can do anything I wanted, as long as I can handle the pain. He did not mention any rehab at all, and based on his recommendation for me to stop physio, I don't think there will be. I got the impression that I can even drive myself home after surgery, even though it's my right knee that's injured.
I spoke with my family physician and we've decided to go for surgery anyway. Hopefully I'll come out of it better than where I am at now.
However, something doesn't feel right. Is it true that physio doesn't help, and no rehab is required after surgery? Also, is there really nothing I can do to make my knee worse? Am I just worrying for nothing?
chelsea212 responded:
Hey shortstop, I just recently had my second surgery for my meniscus, this time both of them had tears and he snipped out the damaged tissue. Unfortunatley I am all too familiar with knee surgery, and it sounds like to me your orthopedist is not being clear enough with you. You will most likely be able to return to your normal activities as tolerated after surgery, but it is not that simple. Physical therapy is very important for recovery. In fact, I even go before any surgeries to strengthen the joint as much as possible to help the recovery process. By going to PT after surgery, your therapist will be able to guide you in your recovery. Since you have OA this is also crucial. Some exercises/movements can affect your OA, which in turn can give you trouble with your meniscii.

My first surgery went well, and overall my pain was much better about 4 months post-op, but I do have to say a lot of this was because of therapy! Best wishes for your surgery, and feel free to ask me anything regarding your surgery, I've been through it all!
_swank_ responded:
Formal physical therapy after surgery isn't really necessary if you already know the routine and your muscles are already strong. It's really designed to get your motion back and build your muscles. If you start using your knee soon after surgery you shouldn't lose much muscle tone. Then all you have to do is work on range. I've had 4 scopes on my knee and didn't have PT for any of them. I already knew how to do the exercises and did them on my own.

You will NOT be allowed to drive home after surgery.

If you have arthritis the best thing you can do is keep your knee moving. I rode a bike and swam. To say you can't make your knee worse is a bit misleading. You probably won't make the arthritis worse but you still have ligaments in your knee that can be torn and can require much more extensive surgery. Meniscus tears and ACL tears often go hand in hand.
shortstop88 replied to _swank_'s response:
Hi chelsea and swank. Thanks for your input - very helpful. You're right - I haven't been told what's going to happen. I don't really know what to expect, and if there's anything I need to watch out for after the surgery.

I have to go for a pre-operation process because I have sleep apnea. I called the hospital to ask what the pre-op entails, and I was told it's mostly just questions/interview from staff. To me, it doesn't quite make sense because they have all the equipment there, just in case, and they would know any medical problems I have after I give them my medical history forms.

I also asked if rehab is required, and they said no. Because of your comments, I think I'm going to continue with my PT after the dr. gives me the "all clear", and try to find out what kind of exercises besides biking, I can do to strengthen my leg. After all, it's been over a year, and I know my muscles are out of shape. Hockey is out, as I've been told that I can't play for at least 6 weeks.

I got someone to drive me home from the hospital, so no worries there.
shortstop88 replied to shortstop88's response:
I had my pre-op appointment at the hospital. I've been told that I'll have to bring my CPAP with me. Is putting me to sleep for half an hour really that risky?

Helpful Tips

You must do the exercises when having TKR. It alleviates stiffness and that hardening feeling. Also, see if you PT will do massage of knee, ... More
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