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Torn Meniscus
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Torn Meniscus on 08/26/2005 09:59:50 MDT Print View

I know that there was talk about a few knee problems a while back, but a hiking friend wonders how, if at all, surgery for a torn meniscus will impact his hiking. Since he is 50'ish, the doc suggests simply knipping off the torn piece and not trying to reattach it. Will this prevent aggressive hiking in the future or in any way limit what he can do? Anyone with the same situation?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Torn Meniscus on 08/26/2005 12:26:44 MDT Print View

For what it's worth, a Supervisor where I work, in his late-50's, has a slightly torn meniscus. His Dr, as well as this Supervisor's daughter, who is an Orthopedic Surgeon in another State, have both told him the same thing. Surgery ("snipping") may help, or it may not. According to what this Supervisor told me, there is some percentage (forget what % figure he mentioned) that surgery does not help. In fact, sometimes it makes it worse. Both his Dr. & his daughter told him that if he can live with it the way it is, he is better off that way. He doesn't hike. Most days he walks fine. Occasionally, he limps a bit, but walks unaided by crutches. He also told me that they said that they can't predict if surgery will help. Obviously, I got this info 2nd hand from him & now you're getting it 3rd hand, so take it with a grain of salt.

Alex Orgren
(big_load) - F
Re: Torn Meniscus on 08/26/2005 13:30:52 MDT Print View

I have a torn meniscus and am weighing the options. Full repair is only possible if the tear is in the outer portion where there is blood supply. Usually the doctor can't tell if repair is possible until surgery is underway.

Snipping the torn piece is the standard surgical treatment. It may or may improve his capabilities, but most people seem happy with the outcome. Depending on the amount removed, there can be an increased risk of arthritis in the future. However, at least for me, arthritis wouldn't be any worse than the current situation. Whether I have the surgery or not, I intend to continue backpacking. I have stopped running, which I find to be a huge sacrifice.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Torn Meniscus on 08/28/2005 15:15:07 MDT Print View

> a hiking friend wonders how, if at all, surgery for a torn meniscus will impact his hiking

I had that problem, and had the torn area snipped out three years ago. I was hiking again within two months, and carrying a sixty pound kid-pack within six months. After six months I didn't have to ice it after hiking, and after a year I didn't need a brace. I only take naproxen occasionally now, whereas I had to take it every hiking day before the surgery. I consider the surgery a success. YMMV.

Jim Ells
(ellsfamily) - F
meniscus on 08/28/2005 16:50:53 MDT Print View

I tore my meniscus working around the house! Had surgery in January and started running etc., in March. I just returned from 10 days with the Sierra Club on a service trip doing trail maintenance in the Wyoming backcountry. Carried 25-35 lbs. in my Mariposa pack, hiked 45 total miles, worked the trails and fastpacked out on Saturday, doing 9 miles in 3 hours at 7600-8000 elevation, and have had no ill effects. I had a 3/4" flap on the inside wall away from the blood supply. It was my 4th surgery of one sort or another and I would recommend it. I am 52. I hope this helps

Richard Buss
(countrydoc20) - F
torn meniscus on 12/16/2005 00:54:45 MST Print View

As a family doctor, I see people with a torn meniscus now and then. The biggest problem is that the torn flap can get "folded" in the joint, and then the knee will reflexively give way and collapse.... or sometimes it will lock up and not be able to bend or straighten.

Probably better to get the piece removed, before your knee gives way while descending a steep trail.

This is done using an arthroscope, a small instrument inserted into the knee joint. No need for the knee to be cut wide open. Recovery is usually quick.

Edited by countrydoc20 on 12/16/2005 00:55:48 MST.