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Training after knee surgery (Meniscus tears)

spacey

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Good Morning everyone,

I am hoping to pull some information from those with experience with this sort of injury and recovery process.  I am NOT currently in the military, but my application has been on hold due to my knee surgeries.  To give you a brief overview:

I have been overweight much of my life, and in my younger years I did play a lot of sports, as a result had some injuries to the knees.  Never really thought to much of it, as my weight shot up and I was completely inactive.  So start back to 2012, I got a personal trainer and started on the healthy path. 
I was experiencing knee pain...of course due to be expected with almost 300 pounds on me and now significantly working out.  I was told knee pain will go away once I lose weight.  Sooo I lost 75 pounds, knee pain got worse.  Went to knee surgeon, and ended going in for double knee scope surgery in June 2013.  I had both medial and lateral meniscal tears in both knees, jagging underneath knee cap (which is shaved and smoothed down), plus arthritis starting in the right knee (significant knee injury as result of being hit by a vehicle as I was walking across the street)…okay significant arthritis that he cleaned a bit up for me.  Bump ahead to April 2014, recovery was not going well, my right knee was worse then before I went into surgery the first time (locking, catching).  I went back into surgery April 4th on my right knee only this time, came out that I had meniscal tears on both sides again (someone reinjured it between last surgery), he cleaned that up again, the rigging has started up again, but nothing that he could fix at this time. He also gave me a cortisone shot that day.  Scroll ahead to today.  Still have issues with locking, catching…physiotherapist has indicated my knee is not moving properly through the knee track…thus my knee cap is too far over to the right, it keeps popping out.  I am getting a custom knee brace to help, and going to be working with a new sports physiotherapist in August.  My surgeon has said to avoid jogging and running completely, and stick with the other low impact cardio.  Its frustrating as its been over a year since I have been able to jog even on a treadmill.  I stick with the elliptical and AMT due to my knee pain. 

So my question, has anyone experienced similar knee issues?  If so, how did you overcome, or how are you continuing with the issues?  Is the military (reserves) even still an option here?  I am really hoping with the brace, it will help stabilize my knee so I can continue strengthening to help alleviate a lot of the issues.

Thank you in advance for your information!

Stacey
 

PuckChaser

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Military work is hard on your knees. We run a lot, carry heavy loads over uneven ground, etc. Your surgeon is going to have to give you the OK to apply (recruiting center will ask for a letter) so be very certain you can obtain this before you go and apply. I've just had my second acl surgery (different knees) and had meniscus removed medially for a bucket handle tear. Follow physio and surgeons directions for rehab carefully, if you rush back to anything you may reinjure and set yourself back. You can get good cardio done on the elliptical.
 

Sythen

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I required a scope on my knee for a meniscus tear in.. I want to say 2002. I had no complications from mine, and recovered fully within a couple months. Joined the military in 2006, and spent 5 years as an Infantryman. I did fine, when it came to my knee, but with all your complications and such I honestly couldn't tell you. As stated by PuckChaser, your knees will take a SERIOUS pounding in the military, no matter what trade you choose.
 

CombatDoc

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Puckchaser was very polite, I'll be more direct.

You've had bilateral medial & lateral meniscal tears, required bilateral surgeries with a complicated post-op recovery requiring further surgery. You are still not 100% recovered and have arthritis, and hope a custom knee brace will alleviate some of your symptoms and improve functioning. You cannot pass the physical requirements of basic training at present.

You should consider a career other than the military.  You'll have your knees for the rest of your life, take care of them now and avoid unnecessary wear and tear.
 

spacey

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I appreciate the honesty :) 

Thank you for all your information! 

Who knows, maybe after some serious training and physio things may look better down the road.  On that note, out of curiosity sake...if a few years down the road my recovery is 100%, but still require the use of a brace, would a doctor's note suffice for wearing it during basic PT?
 

PuckChaser

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If your recovery is 100%, you won't require the use of a brace. If you're starting your military career out with doctors notes, it won't be a long career. Like ArmyDoc said, you're running on hope. Hope is not a CoA, hope is not a prognosis. There are plenty of CAF members who wear a brace for PT. I'd wager most if not all wear it after injuries sustained in service, not before.
 

Brasidas

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PuckChaser said:
If your recovery is 100%, you won't require the use of a brace. If you're starting your military career out with doctors notes, it won't be a long career. Like ArmyDoc said, you're running on hope. Hope is not a CoA, hope is not a prognosis. There are plenty of CAF members who wear a brace for PT. I'd wager most if not all wear it after injuries sustained in service, not before.

I'm finally looking at a 100% recovery myself, after working to the letter of a six month recovery plan after surgery to reconstruct my ACL and a miniscus tear, and having that be nearly the be-all and end-all of my schedule. I had been told that I shouldn't get my hopes up about staying in the military, but it looks like my knee's going to turn out decent.

My unit wants me and my experience, and I'd like to stick around.

Before surgery, I wasn't reckless, I followed physio and medical direction, and I got cleared before I went on courses or did anything that could stress my injuries. I was still re-injured multiple times.

I'm not alone, and I know guys who are more screwed up than I am.  A friend of mine was moronic enough to somehow talk an MO into signing him off as fit to go on PLQ (wearing a brace every damned minute) while waiting for full ACL reconstruction (not just scoping).

If I were looking at going on PLQ again, I might try wearing a brace, not because I needed it, but to help my knee from getting screwed up if I banged it up again. As PuckChaser said, if you "still require the use of a brace", you're not recovered enough, regardless of whatever idiocy a doctor signs off on.

Get yourself as fully-recovered as you're ever going to get. Then find out what a section attack looks like. Then talk to your surgeon about what you're risking by doing that, patrols, and whatever fieldcraft your trade might involve and what you're looking at if you get re-injured. If you come out of that conversation still wanting to go for it, so be it.

But be as better as you're going to get, and be realistic afterward. I met my wife through dancing, and I haven't been able to go dancing with her for half our marriage. Don't screw yourself up without having both eyes open about it.
 

DukeLuke56

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After seeing the title of this thread, I figured it would be as good a place as any to post my question/concern.

I am currently 26 years old and I have just received a call from my local CFRC to schedule a medical. I had an ACL reconstruction surgery on my left knee (as well as a medial meniscus repair) when I was 17 years old after a football injury. I did all of the following physical therapy and things were fine. I had started doing regular exercise again. Two years later, the sutures on my meniscal repair let go (surgeon originally thought there would be enough blood-flow to the meniscus for a full repair). Needless to say, I was scoped and had the small piece of torn meniscus removed and the remaining part shaved down. 1-2 months later and I was feeling great. Haven't had a single hiccup or sign of knee pain ever since. I have been playing flag football 6 months out of the year for the past 3 years, I completed the 6km Mud Hero race last month. I do run/jog regularly as well as lift weights 3-4 times per week without any issues.

For those not keeping track, I haven't had any problems with my knee in the last 6-7 years. My question is: Will the doctor want some sort of documentation or sign-off by my surgeon and/or family doctor or will they be able to fully evaluate my knee during the enrolment medical?

Appreciate any feedback.
 

PuckChaser

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Only the recruiting center is going to give you a firm answer. As long as you disclose the injury, and indicate when all the repairs were done accurately, they will let you know if you need a doctor's note or not. If its fine, I wouldn't worry about it either way, note would be a small hoop to jump through in a career of paperwork.
 

KerryBlue

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DukeLuke56 said:
For those not keeping track, I haven't had any problems with my knee in the last 6-7 years. My question is: Will the doctor want some sort of documentation or sign-off by my surgeon and/or family doctor or will they be able to fully evaluate my knee during the enrolment medical?

Appreciate any feedback.

I had my shoulder reconstructed last Feb as a result of a football injury. When I had my medical I needed
1. Doctors Assessment
2. Physio Therapy Discharge report(outlining treatment, progress and risk of re-injury.
3. Surgical Reports/Note from surgeon detailing the surgery.

The sooner you can get it the faster you can go through the process.

Good luck
 

spacey

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Thank you every for the responses!

I met with my surgeon over a month ago, his quote of the day was "I don't want to discourage...but".  So that burst my bubble a bit, but I am always looking for the positive in it.  I found an excellent physiotherapist whose specialty is sports rehab, and he is very optimistic about getting back into jogging...activities such as martial arts, most likely not (Intense twisting, etc of the knee). 
Coincidently, I had a session today and met his physio student who just so happened to recently joined the Army, starts her BMOQ in January.  When I brought up the point that I wanted to join the reserves, she didn’t deter me in anyway which was very positive.  Both said to wait a while and keep strengthening and continue with physio and the outlook is very positive.  I have been set up with a leg workout by my physiotherapist, so I get to do that again at the gym.
I have been using my knee brace sparingly…mostly when doing longer times on the cardio machines.  The issues have been gradually decreasing, so I am happy by that. 
So I am definitely optimistic and hopeful that I will be able to join the reserves.  My application is still just waiting for that submit button. 
On a side note…I did register for tough mudder next Fall.
All your honesty and insight is greatly appreciated, and I appreciate and value all of the information you provide.
 

pasban888

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I met with my surgeon over a month ago, his quote of the day was "I don't want to discourage...but".  So that burst my bubble a bit, but I am always looking for the positive in it.  I found an excellent physiotherapist whose specialty is sports rehab, and he is very optimistic about getting back into jogging...activities such as martial arts, most likely not (Intense twisting, etc of the knee). 
Coincidently, I had a session today and met his physio student who just so happened to recently joined the Army, starts her BMOQ in January.  When I brought up the point that I wanted to join the reserves, she didn’t deter me in anyway which was very positive.  Both said to wait a while and keep strengthening and continue with physio and the outlook is very positive.  I have been set up with a leg workout by my physiotherapist, so I get to do that again at the gym.

______________________

FARASAT
 

cryco

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Go for it.
I had a partial meniscectomy done about a year and a half ago. It took me 4 months before I was able to do anything I wanted without worrying.
At the medical, I brought that up and he didn't seem concerned since I had no more pain and am able to my crossfit workouts again.
They will make you do the duck walk, which puts your knees under great strain and will reveal any issues with your knees - you can't hide knee problems for long (it's a deep squat and walk forward on your heels- DO NOT try this if you're still recovering)
 

Brasidas

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pasban888 said:
I met with my surgeon over a month ago, his quote of the day was "I don't want to discourage...but"

If your surgeon says he thinks its a bad idea, did you ask further about what sorts of risks you're running if you disregard his concerns? PLQ and CAP are on the horizon, even if you're not looking at a particularly demanding trade in itself.
 

spacey

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Just a quick update.  I have started further fitness training under the guidance of my physiotherapist.  Jogging, etc.  So far things have been going pretty good.  My doctor referred me to a different surgeon, who wasn't very impressed with the work of my last surgeon.  So my MRI results came back and there are some more meniscus tears that require repairing, along with a microfracture in the cartilage. All can be fixed he said, and this time properly.  Since the main issue has been stemming from my knee cap of centre, he will rectify that issue first, and then tackle the rest.  He said a bit longer short term recovery, as its a more indepth surgeon, but I should have a much better knee as a result. 

I will keep you updated as I learn more.  So far though, my jogging hasn't posed any issues with my knee whatsoever.  Kneeling and bending within the knee is the issue (stairs, etc).

I have asked the question about joining the reserves again, and this surgeon is more optimistic about me being able to do it.  Once the problems are resolved of course.
 

spacey

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Another update!

I am on the surgery waiting list...I had to postpone my last call as I am currently training for Tough Mudder Las Vegas in October. 

A bit of an update on my fitness.  I stopped going to physio, because it was becoming a waste of time, when he would put me in the gym or hook me up to a tens machine.  So I bought my own portable one and do my knee work at home.  I have started boxing fitness 3-4x a week, along with Orange Theory fitness 2x a week, I weight train 3-5x a week. I don't jog outside as much, but proud to say I have finished 3 5ks in the last 3 months!  I have dropped more weight, grand total is now 73 pounds...I feel great and I am looking great too! 
My knees have been sore, so icing and TENs machine have been utilized more frequently...I also started Acupuncture and Leg massages...which have been wonderful thus far!

Cannot do sharp turns without pain, so I modify, same thing with lunges...squats have been come friend. So despite still some soreness and the occasional pain, my activity level has stepped up and I am proud of the progress I have made.  My knees scream at times and I take the necessary rest to recover. But I have to say, the increased activity hasn't caused much problems, though I am still pretty careful.

My fitness has never been better and I am starting the application process again. 
 

spacey

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Another update for everyone.

I go in for surgery on Oct 28th, more meniscus tears, micro fracture in the cartilage, release of tension to have my knee cap move back into proper alignment.  I am anxiously awaiting this surgery and looking forward to it finally getting fixed properly! (New surgeon).

I do a mud run Oct 3rd, I ran a 5k a few weeks ago and improved on my time!  I am still boxing 3x a week, Orange Theory 2x a week, plus HIIT once a week and butts and guts once a week.  My weight loss has gone up to over 90lbs now and toning out nicely!

I had an MRI done yesterday to check out the left knee, so I will be waiting to see if they find anything on that one.

Last night I successfully completed the FORCE test, so now its a waiting game for the rest of the process.

So far so good!
 

AbdullahD

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Decided to necro post here... instead of creating a new thread (also in case I missed a more relevant thread I would not look as bad. Lol)

Any rate as you may be aware I had to stop moving forward with the armed forces due to low muscle tone leading to knee issues amongst other things... well I am trying to remedy my low muscle tone issue and help build lower body specifically strength around my knee.

I have a good job now so my need to enroll is not imminent (or possibly ever, still debating that). But figured it would be good to be fit just in case anyways.. so I am curious do any of you guys who have knee issues or experience with knee issues have any any recommended exercises? I bought an elipitical machine and am currently doing 40 mins a day on it decent intensity... my big goal is getting my weight down.. it slipped a lot with the new job so trying to fix that.. I figured a few months doing fairly high intensity workout on the elipitical and some on my rowing machine would be a good start..  but from there I'm lost.

Any advice?
Abdullah
 

brihard

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AbdullahD said:
Decided to necro post here... instead of creating a new thread (also in case I missed a more relevant thread I would not look as bad. Lol)

Any rate as you may be aware I had to stop moving forward with the armed forces due to low muscle tone leading to knee issues amongst other things... well I am trying to remedy my low muscle tone issue and help build lower body specifically strength around my knee.

I have a good job now so my need to enroll is not imminent (or possibly ever, still debating that). But figured it would be good to be fit just in case anyways.. so I am curious do any of you guys who have knee issues or experience with knee issues have any any recommended exercises? I bought an elipitical machine and am currently doing 40 mins a day on it decent intensity... my big goal is getting my weight down.. it slipped a lot with the new job so trying to fix that.. I figured a few months doing fairly high intensity workout on the elipitical and some on my rowing machine would be a good start..  but from there I'm lost.

Any advice?
Abdullah

I had a very minor meniscus injury on my PLQ... very lucky it didn’t cost me my course.

I can’t tell you anything your doctors haven’t already, but I’ll second what you should already have been told about being cautious. Wherever you feel the healing is at, subtract 20%. Eg, “I’m 90% good to go!”, no, you’re not. Be very very careful and take your time. Knee joint injuries really suck and are very vulnerable to aggravation. Don’t think of the detrimental impact to your next six months; think about what it could cost for the next six years if you aren’t careful.
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=AbdullahD] have knee issues or experience with knee issues have any any recommended exercises? 
[/quote]

First and foremost lose weight if you're at an unhealthy weight. There's some formula for the amount of pressure or whatever that is put on your knees for every pound of weight. Even losing a few pounds will take strain off your knees.

Losing weight is easy.  Cut out sugar, pasta, starches, and drastically lower your carbs. Run a calorie deficit.  You'll drop 20+ pounds in a month and begin dropping your body fat%

For exercises include leg press, leg extensions and laying leg curls . Those 3 are pretty solid for building muscles in your knees and quads.

:2c:
 
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