Microfracture Surgery


Anyone had microfracture surgery and been able to run afterwards? It was done while I was having a meniscectomy for a damaged cartilage which in itself had stopped me running!



  • Hi Andy, saw your post so thought I would make a few comments.

    I had microfracture two weeks ago, and there is so much conflicting information out there that I am a bit unsure who to believe?.

    I was told no weight bearing for two week, then partial for 4 weeks

    What I have researched indicates the longer partial weight bearing the better, as in cooking terms it gives the mix more time to set

    Doing the exercises seem very important also to regain range of motion

    I feel weight bearing too soon will reverse some the good the cooking has done, so I will be concious of it for up to 8 weeks post op

    I ran right up to a few days before the op, which I hope built sufficient strength to aid recovery.

    I look at it this way....... It can only improve my knee (I hope) and regardless of what people say, I will return to running, but when I feel the time is right for me.

    I hope your rehab is going well, and I will look out for your updates!
  • Hi Nick and thanks for your reply. I hope your recovery is going well and that you'll soon be back running. The surgery hasn't significantly improved my knee and I can walk with slight discomfort for about a mile and then it gradually gets more and more uncomfortable but I couldn't possibly run on it. I have started biking though as I need to exercise and that is great in that I can bike for ages with no discomfort and it did help the mobility slightly too.

    I agree with you about the conflicting information. I was given almost no info at all about recovery so googled it and scared myself to death about what I shouldn't be doing, so I contacted my consultant and he was adamant that the sooner I got mobile and got weight bearing the better it would be, which conflicted with all that I was reading!

    I see him again next month and it will be interesting to hear what he says about my recovery.

    Good luck!
  • ....it all depends what has been micro fractured and why.

    Rule of thumb is do less than more - it can't be compared to a normal 'scope. Range of motion (swelling respected) should be encouraged but not forced and not weightbearing.

    Shouldn't have to have crouches BUT go easy on loaded flexion (as in none!) for at least 6 weeks.

    Can be very uncomfortable and swollen for weeks. You can return to running but (depending where and why etc) it's months not weeks.
  • Thanks for the reply Six Physio.

    I originally had a meniscoscopy, which was unsuccessful so he decided to try again but while he was in there, he abraded (?) some of the articular cartilage from the medial femoral condyle as there was some OA which he thought the microfracture might benefit. There were about 15 punctures but the first I knew of the procedure was when I came round. I was given some basic physio info relevant to the meniscoscopy but none for the MF apart from flex the knee occasionally. That's when I googled it and saw all sorts of contradictory info. I contacted the consultant and he just said no impact weight bearing (running) for 8 weeks but apart from that carry on as normal. The upshot is, I'm 4 months post procedure and not a lot better off.

    At the follow up visit he said he'd make no decision for at least 9 or 12 months but the only option left is a knee replacement.

    Hey ho... and thanks again
  • Well OB I'm now 13 weeks post op and been walking well for about 5 weeks (4 miles each day). I have also been cycling for about 3 weeks and no issues. Its not as good as running but I hope it will maintain my heart and weight gain. I am 53 and was gutted I had it done at first, but now ok with it. I am paying for Physio, and hope this will speed up recovery. I cant even run across the road without pain, and if no real improvement by May, I will go back to surgeon for advise

    Any advise on time scale appreciated as I miss running so much!
  • Hi Nick

    Your timescales seem OK for now, and 2 months is a good good time scale.

    The body likes to adapt slowly, so running across the road is suddenly going from 0 to 100 - no time for adaptation = pain.

    When all's said and done microfacture will not replace articular cartilage with articular cartilage, it replaces it with fibrocartilage. The ugly sister, just can' handle the stress as well!

     Hang in there and listen to what your physio and body says.

  • Thanks Six Physio

    I still get pain when I twist or "push off" with the bad knee, I walk fine, but if I slip or trip, I get a shooting pain in the small left part of my knee (is this normal?)

    Cycling is going really well (hadn't been on a bike for over 30 years)

    I hope to return to running April if no pain, but the last month I have seen no real improvement

    I will no longer run marathons, (now 53 and started marathons age 45 so had a good innings)but want to run 3 times a week with 8 miles as a max, and average 6 miles. This is my ideal scenario

    Anyone know if my pain is normal 13 weeks post op???

    Advise always appreciated!

  • Hi there - I had a similar forum string on this - "Running after micro surgery" - do a search and you will find it.  HAd a few replies on it.

     I am 5 weeks post op and still non-weight bearing.  Slowly moving over to partial weight bearing but will be on crutches for another 5 weeks.  Have had very mixed opinions - from yes you will run to give up running all together.  Struggling with the prospect at the moment to be honest....all I know is that it will never be the same again and marathons are well and truly behind me.

  • I know how you feel HR - I've come to terms with the fact that I'll never run again and I'll concentrate on cycling to keep the fitness up.

    I see my consultant on Friday for a follow up but I can't see anything changing as he said the only option left is a knee replacement which he wouldn't consider for some time anyway!
  • I am still convinced I will run again. I know they don't want us to, but I was told to quit running years ago and continued with 6 marathons.
    I was running before Microfracture but had swelling etc. post runs, and cut it down to a bare minimum and enjoyed my shorter slower runs.

    I thought i was going in for a wash out and nip / tick and came out with crutches etc like most was gutted!

    I feel the op must help long term, and worse case it will be the same as before but I hope for an improvement.

    A colleague of mine had a few issues with his knee, and was told he needed a partial knee replacement. He didn't bother, and is now doing fine (however please consult the professionals)
    I have decided to not to even attempt to job a few yards until I am at least 5 month post op.

    The bike is paying dividends, and weight coming back down

    Good luck to all!

  • That's a good positive attitude Nick and I wish you good luck image
  • Thanks OB,I just got a new bike and it is helping a not. I could jog a bit I reckon, but I am waiting a further 5 weeks (will be 5 months post op)before I attempt to run, and if it hurts I will waite a further month.

    My plan is to start very slow and short distance, and even if I am 100% fine to run, I will mix with bike and no marathons, hard core running, and enjoy 10k etc. just for the fun.

    I have some great friends who I used to run with, and I hope to train in secret and blast a 5K longer term just for a laugh

    Keep positive!

  • PS, there is a lot of negative information out there (mostly from USA)but I reckon the positive people are too busy running to leave any information.
    Hope it goes well OB!
  • 12 months since microfracture op, was running after 6 months but it wasn't pain free. The trick is soft ground, no more concrete/tarmac (& no more rugby or marathons ;-(). I'm now running 3-4 times a week, my weekend run usually 6-7 miles, the last 2-3 months I would say my knee almost feels back to normal apart from down hills where I'm fairly cautious. I have good days & bad days but if I'm sore I back off for a day ot two. Am good at gym, spinning 3 times a week, circuit training twice, I avoid certain exercises (lunges) but I had problems with them prior to my knee surgery. My top tip would be to keep the knee active, I do quite a few knee exercises now (didn't do many before op, no need to because I run - schoolboy error!) squats, step-ups, leg press etc, build up the muscles around the knee, I'm conviced it helps....hope this has been usefulimage    

  • Thanks Andy. I'm now over 7 months post op . Had lots or tears and was bob-on-bone with "advanced arthritis". I ran before op, but continued with pain and swelling and cut miles down. I am now biking better with road bike, walking real well each day and have had a few jogs. I did 600 Mtrs a few week ago, then a mile. Today I did 2 miles with pain, but it wasnt unbarable and I felt great,
    I agree about keeping the knee moving, and my Consultant wants me to run as theis helps (Boy so many conflicting stories about  post Microfracture surgery)

    I plan to build on my running, but mix with bike. Like you no more marathons, and I aim to enjoy 5 and 10 Ks and mabby cross coulntry. Not bad as I am 53image

    Goos luck!

  • Hi Nick, hope things have continued to improve for you, I've had a good summer on the running front, still maintaining 2 to 3 shorter runs (5km ish) in the week & about a 10 - 12 km run at the weekend as well as the spinning & circuits in the week. Just had a week at the Paralympics as a Gamesmaker, had the odd twinge of 2 after a whole week standing/walking about but finished Fri night & managed a 6 miler on Sunday with no issues

    regards Andy

  • Well done on the Gamesmaker Andy, I take my hat offf to you!I  am now running 6 miles but only once a week as i still get a few pains (9 months post op) but bike a lot and weight has come down so that will help.

    How long since your op?

  • Hi! I was never a serious runner, a couple of miles around the neighborhood for relaxation, a few 5ks with friends for the fun and tshirtimage I am more of the 40 year old 'gym mom' who loves Zumba, cardio classes, pilates, and the elliptical.

    I had microfracture more than 2 years ago. Stage 4, full thickness on the most weightbearing area of my femur. After two months in a immobilizer ( I am an ER nurse, who had to continue working until it was more convenient to take off work for months), then 6 weeks non-weightbearing, my leg was completely withered and atrophied. I am not as hard core as many of you, but I was a very good PT patient and worked hard. It was a good year before I felt'back to normal', but it still is not the same.

    I had said I would never go back to running, too much risk. But lately, I have SO missed my evening jogs. Plus, so many of my friends are doing mud runs, 5ks, etc. that I want to join in! 

    So, I signed up with a group to do the 'Beer 5k", and have been working towards that. It has been hard.

    I have the Jeff Galloway app on my phone, suggested by PT. He has training for 5k to marathon, he is well known and respected of how to train without injury, or coming back from one. I also splurged on 'gait analysis' and bought some very expensive shoes and inserts.

    One month into it, it is okay. I have been very slow, doing the "run, walk, run" training. I did a quick consult with my pt today because of some pain. Mind you, I am only up to 2 miles a run(term used loosely!). I have some tendinitis and IT band issues. Otherwise, I think I can do this! 

    I have been back to my regular gym routine for over a year, no problems. I watch pivots and jumps in classes. Not because I cant, but just worried to put too much strain on it. I keep up with everyone else! But, I have 'twinges' all the time. 

    Im looking at this site tonight, hoping to find some success stories. I dont see many 'no more pain' ones, doesnt seem that anyone goes back to what they were.I think we all just have to be careful, dont push it,  and do what we can! good luck and thanks for the advice Ive read


  • Hi Heather, glad to see your being sensible. I have searched the web for sucess stories, and there are a few (including marathon runninig post op) and I am in agreement with you to take it slow and change the way we run etc.

    I used to run marathons and other distances, but foun I missed the buzz of just running with friends and out in the country.

    So I don't intend running marathons etc, but amd confident 10 miles, half ,marathons etc will be OK.

    I am convinced we need 12 months before returning to a decant level, and like you say no jumping

    Good luck all, and stay positive! 

  • Hi,

    I have had micro fracture surgery 13 weeks ago- I am wondering if anyone can help to answer my question- I know this thread is a bit old..... but it is what I came across when doing some research.

    I have no swelling and no pain and it was a 1cm*2cm lesion on my femoral condyle on the medial side.

    BUT I can only flex my knee to about 110-120 degrees and it is really pain ful if I try go any further..... Does this mean the micro fracture failed??

    Did anyone else have this problem with there range of motion?

    I was in a brace with 30 degrees of flexion for 6 weeks and the surgeon said I should be at full motion by 14 weeks.

    I'm worried!!


  • Hi TK2, I had micro frac 20 months ago. My humble opinion is it hasn't failed. We are all different and no MF is the same. I'm 55, and decided my running days may be over as no real improvements and I also had arthritis of same knee and was bone on bone. I took up biking and this helped but after trying to run in pain and with a limp I was deep down deverstared.I lost weight from biking and my quades were solid. I started to plod the odd run for my last attempt and it got better each week. I only run two or three times a week but loving it.I may return marathons one day, but just glad to be out there. I know how you free, but don't dispare time will help. I still bike and enjoy being healthy. You will get there, but be prepared for a bumpy ride with good and bad days. I hope this helps, and good luck my feindimage .............PS, six months you can start but check with medical pros first

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