The tale of two knees


Would really welcome some advice from anyone who has had experience with a meniscus tear injury.

After recently having an MRI, I have just been told by the consultant that my right knee does have early signs of knee degeneration (most probably due to age and general wear & tear ), but more importantly I have a tear in the meniscus cartilage.

Whilst I can run and the ache eventually disappears, I seem to pay a heavy price in the following days. Whilst the consultant said I could have an anthroscopic procedure, he inclined to advise a 'wait and see' approach, as he could see that I had mobility; I don't think he was a runner image 

Has anyone seen a turnaround in such an injury after having it for over 5 months?

I was hoping to run a half marathon with my daughter (her first) in the near future and I'm concerned that restarting my training (as I have not ran for 4 months) will worsen the injury.





  • I have a mirco tear in my meniscus left knee had it for 3 years now and can run no problem (have done a couple of marathons). After a long run I give it a good massage and have exercises to do given to me by a pysio (who was a runner).  

    I think the risk is tearing it further whilst running esp off road but tbh you could do that stepping of the pavement and twisting the wrong way.  



















































































































































































































  • Thanks for that 'Fueled by Jelly babies'. That's really encouraging image

    Out of interest, do you find hill running worse than flats for your knee injury and were the recommended exercises by your physio targeted at your quads & hamstrings?

    Oh & finally, do you find wearing a knee support help?



  • s-o-t-r the main objective of the exercises is to keep and improve the range of movement in the Knee.

    No I don't wear a knee support was advised against it. 

    What I find really helps is for the first mile of any run I concentrated on my form to make sure it's correct as I had a tenancy land lighter on the affected knee which could cause problems long term to the other knee/leg.

    Hills or flat the same really.

    Try and get a couple of physio sessions ideally with a running friendly one. If you live anywhere near Reading I can recommend mine.

  • Thanks again 'Fueled by Jelly babies'.

    I'm living in Leicester, so will take your advice and try & find a running friendly physio from around here.

  • I have to say, my experience is the opposite of that above, and having the tear repaired by arthroscopy made such an improvement. Before the surgery I couldn't run, and was struggling to walk normally. Immediately afterwards I could feel something had improved.

    I was also told that running on a knee with a meniscus tear in it was more likley to lead to degenerative change.

    Good luck whatever you decide.

  • Jane

    Thanks for your post.

    My main concern is as you highlighted, that running with such an injury could have a longer term negative impact on my overall knee, hence my hesitation.

    Everyone's different and I know that my injury must be slightly different to that experienced by Fueled by Jelly babies, as after my injury I now notice the impact on my knee of even walking up inclines.

    However I did not like the idea of invasive surgery when the consultant seemed to offer no strongly positive prognosis from the procedure, so I was delighted to hear your positive experience. I got the impression that his advice was leaning me towards taking up a lower impact sport.... image

    I'm just off out now for a very short run .... and then wait to see what happens tomorrow.

    Thanks again.






  • Good luck.

    I'm just back from an evening at the track, happy that my knee coped well with the intervals.

    I should maybe say I was a fairly new, very slow runner before injury. I'm not sure if that makes a difference. 

    My surgeon was also reluctant to operate, but when I still couldn't walk without a stick 6 months after the injury he agreed.

    I'm almost a year on now, and it has been a slow return, but mainly due to muscles which were inactive before the surgery. My hamstring stopped working completely. And my gait has changed slightly, meaning foot and achilles niggles.

    I know surgery increases the risk of arthritic change, but I still think that must be better than a tear rubbing with every step.

    The actual surgery was straightforward. I could put weight on it the same day snd started running about 10 weeks later. There are 3 tiny scars.

    It might help to get an opinion from a surgeon or physio who runs. I'm not sure my surgeon was a runner, but he was keen to get me back to pre injury levels of activity.

  • Thanks Jane

    I think your injury sounded a lot more serious than mine. I suppose you have to ask yourself whether you really need the operation and in your case it sounds like there was no question about it.

    I have been running for quite a few years (but I'm not a club runner) and think that it's benefits far exceed that of just keeping fit. I would like to improve on my half marathon time of last year, but more importantly run with my daughter on her first half marathon (albeit she may be even faster than me by then!). I'm not ready to hang up those running shoes yet, so I will seek out a second opinion.

    Was great to hear your experiences, so many thanks for sharing them. I was impressed that you're now even doing track evenings, just a year after the operation!!


  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    My experience is the same as Jane's - I had a meniscal tear that didn't really affect day-to-day activities, it felt a bit weak and kneeling on it was uncomfortable but otherwise it was fine.  However I couldn't run on it, and ended up giving myself a groin strain due to trying to minimise the weight on my knee whilst running.

    The surgeon was a straight talker, and said it was my decision whether to have the operation, as I could have a decent "quality of life" without the operation. As running was important to me, I decide to have the Op and I'm glad I did. I'm now able to run without injury or discomfort.

    I think medical practice has changed a lot over the last few years, with more focus on doing enough to ensure that patients can live comfortably rather than trying to fix every defect.   You need to decide on an individual level whether the compromises you need to make to accommodate the tear are worth making.

  • Thanks stutyr

    When I read your post, your experience before you had the procedure sounded very familiar, in that my injury does not effect my daily activities (but I know it's there), but I struggle to run on it.

    I have decided that I will have some physio on it and try to ease back into running, but if that fails, then I will have the Op.

    Ultimately, as you say in your post, it is all about whether you can find an acceptable level of compromise. However, not running again is a compromise that I am not prepared to make at this stage of my life.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  • Go CazGo Caz ✭✭✭

    Interesting thread. I also have a meniscal tear and it is good to hear of other experiences. Mine doesn't really affect my running (I have done two marathons on it) just things requiring deep flexion such as kneeling and squatting and it also hurts at night sometimes.

    The surgeon I saw recently after an MRI said that I could opt for an arthroscopy but that if it was his knee, he would leave it. At the moment I am still thinking about it... He also told me that the op would mean at least 8 weeks before I could start running again. As I am just coming back after injury (unrelated) that would be really frustrating and is one thing that is putting me off!

    His opinion was that physio would not be of any use in trying to increase range of movement. 

  • Hi Go Caz

    Sounds as if your experience is different again. I'm impressed that you have already done two marathons with the injury!

    The surgeon that I saw also leant towards a 'wait & see' approach and I can understand why, if the injury is not effecting my daily life to any significant degree. However if the injury eventually forces me to stop running, then that would constitute a significant event in my books, hence my earlier comments. As I have already had 4 months off from running with the injury, another 8 weeks does not sound too bad!

    As for the physio, my rationale was not trying to focus on the knee, but to see if I could improve other muscle groups (e.g. glutes) and so have a beneficial impact on how much strain the overall knee has to take.

    Thank you for contributing to the thread. 



  • s-o-t-r:

    I tore my lateral meniscus last year, and aged 63 it looked for a while as if my running was finished. Eventually I found a physio who decided that the problem arose because of a slight knee misalignment and gave me a routine of popliteus muscle massage, strengthening and stretching exercises. Five weeks of following the routine (12 weeks since the initial injury), I was back running. It was a very careful restart, no hills and good surfaces, building up from just a few hundred metres and never tiring my muscles. It was months before I could manage a deep squat, but it didn't matter, and I still get an occasional ache a year later. But I'm now back to my pre-injury form, and looking to develop. I didn't even know I'd got a popliteus muscle! Look up popliteus stretching and strengthening: it can't hurt and it may help.

    Best of luck.

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    I've recently been diagnosed with a posterior medial meniscus tear.  it was originally thought I had signs of osteoarthritis as I had no pain but bad knee swelling and uncomfy when standing from sitting.  I was OK running - it didn't hurt during but was uncomfy after as said.

    X-rays proved inconclusive, but MRI was on the ball - yep, there's the tear.  between the MRI scan and results I had another run but have been in agony since, so I suspect that I have made the tear seen on the scan worse.

    this injury ain't going to clear up with rest or physio and I am booked for an arthroscopy on 13th August and then I can then start getting back into the groove.  the surgeon, who's a sportsman himself, has told me no running for 6 weeks after, but light cycling and swimming will be fine as a gradual approach back to full fitness.

    fnigers crossed it all works OK!

  • Hi Colin H & fat buddha

    It's really interesting to hear all of the feedback, as it all seems to point me in one direction. If the tear is not too serious, then with the correct physio & rehabilitation regime, I might be able to return to running, and fingers crossed, only have the occasional ache and pain. As for the popliteus muscle, I'll be looking that one up and will mention it to my physio next week!

    I went to a sports physio yesterday who thinks that I might be able to avoid an op at this stage and with the right rehabilitation programme over the next couple of months, I might be able to return to running as before. I've already switched to cycling in the meantime, which works ok for me.

    However, he was also very clear with me that after completing the rehabilitation programme, if I am still struggling to run, then there is virtually no chance of it ever improving...

    It would appear that the location and severity of the tear (along with other factors), dictate the chances of recovering without an operation. However, if I find that it is not improving or worsens when I train, then I'll have no hesitation in booking myself for an arthroscopy.

    Good luck fat Buddha with your op.




  • I agree with fuelled by jelly babies, i had a tear in both knees a few years ago and took (a very frustrating) year out and then did six months of strength training on my knee and can now run absolutely fine, get the odd twinge but i have found that day to day life has sometimes made it a lot worse, walking the dog or a cobbled tow path. 

  • Thanks Rob Stevens 6

    I've now started doing the exercises advised by the physio and will see if that hopefully helps matters. It's really encouraging to hear that with perseverance, you've managed to get back to your running without having the op.

    I have got my fingers crossed for a slow return to running in September.



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