Torn Meniscus


Certified Bastard
Jun 2, 2002
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Ok. My girlfriends father just had an MRI and found out he has a tear in his meniscus. He felt it tare a while back and it has been hurting him on and off for about 2 months now. He recently was canceled off his insurance for some stupid reason, and therefore has no insurance and cannot afford surgery if there is any way to avoid it.

So, I'm asking if anybody knows a little bit about his options that are different than surgery. Like can he do physical therapy or anything else. I am not very optimistic, but I am just hoping someone knows something. Also, those who have had surgery, how much did it cost? I am only thinking of the arthroscopic surgery, since that is more common now.

If you do have good advice, if you have any references or anything rather than just your word (no offense) I would appreciate it so I can look into it further. Every search on the topic that I have done only deals with surgery. Thanks in advance, I and he both appreciate it.
RJKD12, I have some friends in the PT department of Lahey Clinic, where I used to work. I will try to be in touch with them Monday or Tuesday and see what they say about alternatives, if any. I will try to get a guesstimate about cost as well for the arthroscopic surgery. In the meantime have him take it easy and best of luck. I sincerely hope it all works out for him.
How bad is his range of motion? Can he squat? certain parts of the meniscus, the inner horn I believe can heal on their own since they have circulation, but the outer horn does not heal. If he really needs surgery then its best he has it, I think otherwise his options are pretty much nil. Basically jst wear a knee brace and take mega doses of glucosamine. The surgery Im thinkning will run about 10-15k.
I was in a very similair boat a fews years ago. No health insurance and dislocated my kneecap briefly at a tournament. Although the knee popped back in with a little encouragement I was left with a torn meniscus and some ACL/LCL damage.

Over time the knee is largely back to normal. Although not perfect, I can run, squat, kick and fight. No surgery for me but things seemed to have healed better than I would have expected.

Although I am by no means a physical therapist I can report what I did and what the results were for me. Personally I went back to work two days after the dislocation (which I wouldn't reccomend). I put on an over the counter knee brace, limped around, and took ibuprofen. Gradually resumed more working out as my knee would allow. Got rid of the brace after a month or two.

Oddly enough, leg extensions bothered it far more and for much longer than squats did. I was able to do full squats with limited weight within a few weeks. I could still feel the knee 'slipping' though if I kicked with that leg for quite some time. Kicking a heavy bag bothered it less as there was less 'snap' impact on the knee. It's been three or 4 years now and I don't really notice it at this point.

Hopefully he'll get lucky and be able to have a similairly decent non-surgical recovery?
Leg Extentions are about the worst thing you can do with a bad knee. They put so much pressure on the joint, no wonder it hurt.
I tore my ACL and meniscu. Main problem he is looking at is that he tore his meniscus and now there is a peice of meniscus floating around in there. It is only a matter of time until it floats into the joint itsself and then the knee locks up (happened to me alot) It hurts like hell and you gotta actually hit the knee to get it out. I would say his best option is for them to scope the knee and clean out the crap and shave the torn part of the meniscus.
Oh yeah, as for rehab, train hamstring like a mofo. I agree that leg extensions made my kne hurt more but after reading charles polaquins (spl?) article on the hamstrings role in knee stabalization, i totally say ham curl are the better choice.
Thanks a lot guys. I really appreciate all of this.

Rickdog, thanks a lot man, I appreciate it. Any information at all that they can give I'd love to hear it.

Sohei, I havent seen the xrays, but he was told it wasn't torn off, it was just a tear. He is not an athlete at all (a late forysome man), so currently I don't know what exercises he can do. He had the tear a while ago, it got better, and recently got worse so he went for an MRI and got this news. I am unsure of what part is torn, but I probably can get that info.

KOU In3, thanks for the advice, I'll let him know what you said. Him being older I bet such a nice recovery is slimmer, but hopefully it'll work.

BAS_FAN, thanks also. I am pretty sure it isn't torn off, just a tear. I never thought of the hamstring issue, which also does help stabalize the knee.

Lastly, any advice for exercises that are knee friendly would be greatly appreciated. I have some idea's, but don't want to make any mistakes. I think I'm going to get him a knee brace, and then do some exercises to make it better. If he can get insurance later on, he may get the surgery later. I hope that the brace and exercises will make it liveable for a while though. Thanks again,
If its just a minor tear he may be able to do without the operation. I had a minor meniscal tear in my right knee(Grade 2), and since I could squat I never had arthroscopy, just took glucosamine and stayed off it for a month and it healed very well. If I train really hard ocassionally the following day it might be a lil sore but otherwise it is fine, I squat, kick, can do the splits, etc. As for rehab movements, I wold do hamstring stretches(keeping yor knee straight and bending forward at the back), standing or sitting, quad stretches(grabbing your ankle and pulling your foot to your butt). Do them until he feels pain, and he should gradually regain range of motion in his knee.
I would prescribe some of the exercises in: - Knee Rehab Post.pdf

- Peterson Step-ups
- Backwards sled dragging (or you can use a jumpstretch band anchored to the powercage)
- Rock bottom olympic squats
- Hamstring
- Leg Curls (motion originated at the knee)
- RDL's (motion originated at the hip)
- lots of peanut butter

- some more stuff I am writing in a quick article this next week and I'll pm you with it when its done.
Thanks a lot smitty. Haha, I'm surpised you'd post this here and not at the "other board" you have seemed to frequent a lot more. I can't wait for the PM.

Sohei, thanks. I"m going to get him to start exercising and see how that goes. Hopefully he won't have to have the surgery, or he'll be able to go a while without getting it, long enough to get insurance.

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