Getting there

It’s been nearly three months since I damaged my knee. Recently I’ve been to a sports physio, mainly to get a programme of rehab exercises. For the last three weeks I’ve been doing strengthening exercises for the muscles supporting and controlling my knee. I definitely feel stronger and will keep doing them in the longer term. I still feel a little instability and the odd twinge, especially if I twist my knee.

The physio said the main issue is the meniscus in my knee rather than the ligament. Without a scan it’s difficult to know, but it looks like it’s only the outer part which means it should heal properly. The outer part has a blood supply, whereas the inner doesn’t and is more of a problem. I’ve had no catching or clicking, so he’s fairly confident there’s not a tear.

I had planned to be on Dartmoor this weekend, but it seemed too risky. The physio said I should be cautious about doing too much too soon and that I should not try to do too much for a month or two after the discomfort has gone. If I feel ok, I will probably do a camper van trip in Sept and do some short walks. It’s all a bit frustrating but if I’m careful, I should make a full recovery. I’m glad I don’t need an operation. Hey, ho!

2 thoughts on “Getting there”

  1. Hi Robin, Sorry to hear about your knee. I hope to give you a few words of encouragement. You probably know that I’m a fairly serious runner as well as a hillwalker. Last September I heard my knee pop when I stumbled on a molehill while out on a clubnight run. I hoped it would sort itself out if I reduced my running mileage and cut out big hills but when it wasn’t resolved by December I saw my GP who is himself a very encouraging fellrunner. I was referred to Harrogate hospital for an Xray and subsequently an MRI scan which confirmed I’d torn my medial meniscus and also had a stress fracture of the tibia plateau. I made my consultant aware that I was a running coach and also had a multi-day backpacking trip planned so was keen to remain as active as possible. I was told I couldn’t make it any worse by continuing in a modest measured way as long as I could manage the pain. The pain was only an issue on steep descents or if forced to lead with my weak leg when ascending. Ibuprofen seemed to sort it, with two paracetomol before bedtime.I had already submitted a low-level route for TGO in anticipation of knee problems and was given the go-ahead; I told Sue and Ali of my situation and had several potential escape routes planned as well as maximising my restocking opportunities so my packweight was as low as it could be.In the end TGO passed quite undramatically, even that awkward first day from Plockton to Glen Elchaig that I cribbed from your blog ! I was also able to maintain my coaching commitments amounting to about 20km running each week. I had dropped my race calendar much earlier. On 5 July I had day surgery under general anaesthetic. It was a right knee arthroscopy, partial medial menisectomy and medial femoral condyle chondroplasty. In laymen’s language, they trimmed the damaged meniscus, smoothed the rough joint surfaces and flushed out some debris. The stress fracture had resolved itself. I went down to theatre at 12 noon and was being collected to go home by 2pm. I had minimal swelling or afterpain.I was told that I could resume my spin classes in 2 weeks but with low resistance and that I could gently run on soft surfaces once the incisions had healed. Those milestones were reached without problem and this morning I’ve been able to take one of my training groups out for an undulating offroad 9km run. Let me encourage you that should you have a tear that justifies surgery you can still keep reasonably active before and soon after, with care. I was fortunate in having a supportive GP and physio and a consultant who was keen to see me maintain a vigorous lifestyle rather than retiring to the passivity of the sofa. Even then I had to emphasise that my hobbies, my small part-time employment and the care of my wife depended on my being active. I’m not sure that every 70 year old is given the opportunity of keyhole surgery; the consultant had to justify his decision to the ‘money men’. Take it steady, keep patient, and I’m sure that you’ll get through your present problem. My physio warned me that my risk was doing too much, too soon. Seems sensible advice to me. All best wishes,Stan

  2. Thanks, Stan, that’s very encouraging. Glad to hear you’re on the mend. It’s always difficult to know how far to push it. I’m fairly sure mine is “minor”. I’ve been going out for a 5-6km walk most days and doing the exercises. I’ve found using a Bioskin simple neoprene knee support some of the time (not all of the time) helpful. It seems to cushion the knee from twisting. Oddly, it’s a real help at night. I want to keep active as long as possible and I’m going to be more diligent about strength and fitness in the future. Best wishes for your further recovery.

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