Arthroscopic Meniscus Repair Recovery: Slow Process When Bending ... May Need Additional Surgery

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I am 11 weeks post op from Arthroscopic Meniscus Repair Surgery. I've been attending physical therapy for 10 weeks and I saw the doctor last week for my monthly follow up appointments. I am having trouble bending my knee and at the time of the visit I was at 70 degrees. The doctor told if i'm not at 100 degrees the next time I see him (in 4 weeks,well now 3 weeks). I have to do an MRI and may have to do additional surgery. Honestly after the visit I felt so sad and scared. Regardless I am trying not to think about that and focusing on getting my knee to 100 degrees. I have made process since, the last time the physical therapist checked I'm at 83 degrees and I'm only 17 degrees away from 100!!! YAY!!!!

I love that I'm making process but I'm still scared. When I'm not in PT, I'm doing the exercises at home. My motivation and emotions are all over the place and I'm honestly not in the best home environment for healing.

Specifics

  • I don't have any pain (other than 24/7 tightness/discomfort on my knee and pressure when I try to bend). I feel whenever I bend my knee that there is point where I can't bend anymore. Pain isn't a factor but it's like there is something stopping my knee . I don't want to type this because I don't want to jinx myself but it's a similar feeling to the sensation I felt before the surgery when my knee was locked and I couldn't bend it.
  • My knee is still swollen which is normal. It could be scar tissue but one of my physical therapists doesn't necessarily think it's the scar tissue. He thinks it's fear. I don't disagree but I'm working as best as I know how.
  • I can get my knee straight
  • I can walk without crutches (not that great). I use 1 crutch when I'm outside just to be on the safe side.

I'm rambling but I want to know if anyone has experienced these feelings. I just need to rant because I can't really come to any body else that understands and doesn't try to shame me/dismiss my feelings.

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  • Posted

    I'm sorry you are having so much trouble. You said one thing that I believe may be contributing to your inability to get much bend. If your knee is swollen you might want to ice it regularly to help reduce the swelling . That in turn may let your knee move more freely.

    I've had artroscopy on my right knee twice before I had a total knee replacement and I found that icing a lot and getting the swelling under control helped immensely.

    If you are over working the knee you might consider laying off for a day or two and see if that helps as well. Good luck and hope you get your mobility back soon.

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  • Posted

    Your feelings are very real and should not be dismissed. I am 15 weeks post op left total knee replacement, and have struggled with depression which took me by surprise. I am on meds now for the depression, and I do feel better pshycologically, but I also still have this terrible tight band around me knee, which is hindering my every day living. Although I have reached 122deg flexion, it is with difficulty, as my glutes and hamstring are also incredibly tight. Nothing I do enables me to get past 122deg. I still see my PT, I do my own home exercises, and I go to hydrotheraphy twice a week, but I don't feel I am making sufficient progress. If I look back, of course I can see I've progressed, but the rate is frustrating. I am walking on my own, and am now able to do foot over with steps, going up. But not going down. All the best in your recovery. I hope things improve for you.

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    • Posted

      You are in the similar situation as me, so you can relate and understand .

      Have you had depression before you started?

      How long have you been at 122 deg flexion?

      You are almost at full flexion which is good!!!!!

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    • Posted

      Yes, I have suffered depression before, but have been off all meds and been stable for about 5 years so I honestly thought I would cope through this, but boy, was I wrong! I reached 122deg flexion about 2 weeks ago. My next PT visit is Monday, then I will know if I have maintained or increased the flexion.

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    • Posted

      Ok, What made it hard for you to cope with this injury? Is this your first knee injury?

      You will increased the flexion, even if it's just 2 degrees. 😃

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    • Posted

      I really struggled with the total loss of mobility and having to depend on my husband for absolutely everything. I am a very busy person, always doing something, so not being self sufficient knocked me completely. I was also terrified I would be crippled for the rest of my life!! I knew going in to surgery that it would be sore, and that I would take time to recover, but I honestly had absolutely NO idea that it would be THIS tough. I though I would be fully recovered within six weeks😂. I now understand and have accepted that full recovery can take 12 to 18 months.

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    • Posted

      I understand this completely. It's tough to ask others for help. You feel bad and guilty about this which can lead to shame.

      Honestly I am not a very active person but I understand feeling trapped and not being able to do something because you literally CAN'T

      Same in terms of surgery and recovery. Surgery as healing and effective as it is, is trauma. You have an adult mind but almost childlike injured limp attached to other adult mature body parts. You're relearning things that is as natural as thinking or breathing.

      The good thing about physical injury is that time heals all physical wounds. It may not be the same, and the psychological effects take longer to heal, but healing is a guarantee. Time flies too 😄

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    • Posted

      Hi Colleen, You and I are at about the same stage, I'm 13 weeks from tkr and my bend is 122 also. At 11 weeks I could only get to 100, and I was desperate, depressed and couldn't sleep worrying about this damn bend. Then I saw a blog on the internet about the sitting knee bend exercise, the one where you thrust your knee forward a little at a time, and in 2 weeks I have gotten to 122,and I am very happy with that. There is no doubt that it's frustrating how slow this all takes but at 12 weeks they say 115deg bend is good, so we are doing great! I am booked in for my second tkr next month (December), and I am much more educated now than before. I have to say I do not like physios, they don't seem to understand how we feel, and each one has a different thing to say. Do you think hydrotherapy worked for you? Don't worry, and just keep up what you're doing, you will be fine.

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    • Posted

      Hydrotheraphy has been absolutely amazing. The weighless feeling makes doing the exercises so much more bearable and I've e had great results with it. Mt PT has moved my appointment to 3 weeks, and me being me, I couldn't wait that long to see how I am doing, so I've used a goniometer app to check flexion and my bend is now evidently at 127deg. I hope I'm using it correctly, but Mondays PT visit will soon tell.

      I saw my surgeon tester day too, and he is extremely happy and says he doesn't need to see me again. YAY ME!!

      You're VERY brave taking in a 2nd TKR at this point. I too needed right knee done, but my head is still screaming "oh h3ll no"!!

      Well done on you great progress.

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    • Posted

      Hi Colleen, If I was younger (I'm 70), I might delay the second op, but I just think that the older you get the harder it is to recuperate, and my husband and I want to get back to our caravaning and being able to do things we used to do.

      I know it's really hard thinking about being so dependent again, but it has to be done soon. I think about it all the time, but it will be better to get it over with sooner than later, and I've been exercising the right knee along with the operated one to prepare it, something I didn't do before, so it will be in better shape. AND I know so much more now!!

      Good luck to you, I will probably be on this forum again afterwards, it has been such a great help.

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    • Posted

      @Colleen97531: hey do you have an update? Has your ROM improved? How are you? My ROM is still the same but I am still improving. I may not get to 100 by next week but I know I will get better, it may take longer but it's going to happen. I hope everything is well with you.

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    • Posted

      Hi Danix, thank you for enquiring. I went to see the surgeon last week and he has told me I am above average for 13 weeks. He measured my knee bend at 120deg. Made me very happy indeed!! He also explained how there are different prostheses and some are designed to go to 120-125degs, and others to 140deg, which is for people who need to kneel (pray etc). I only got to where I am by pushing my knee forward, as I explained. When I have the next one done, I will be doing that exercise right at the start. I was told about it at the hospital but didn't do it that much, instead I did the heel slides which didn't work for me. All the very best to you in your recovery.

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    • Posted

      Hi Danix. Yes, I'm very happy my ROM increased to 128 deg. I can't renege what I told you last, so forgive me if I'm repeating nestling!! The surgeon is very happy and says I'm way ahead for 16 weeks, and no longer needs to see me. My PT has also said she no longer needs to see me, but I am scared to be on my own just yet, so I've made a follow up appointment for 4 weeks.

      Yes, you will get there. It is a slow process, but I've found that exercising daily is key to recovery. I still have a very tight knee, and I'm told by my surgeon, this can take up to 12 months to dissipate.

      I can now do foot over going up steps, but going down is still a challenge. I have the strength and flexion, but confidence is the issue!

      Keep us updated on your recovery.

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    • Posted

      Oops.... Sorry for the garble! Trying to reply on my phone and auto correct thinks it know what I'm trying to say!! Sentence should read..... "I can't remember what I told you last, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself....."

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    • Posted

      @Colleen97531: I am happy you increased your ROM. I can understand the confidence thing. Your surgeon and your physical therapist trust your progress which is something you DID. It was your hard work, your dedication that made the difference. They were just their to support you.

      How do you describe your knee tightness? Ever since I started physical therapy, I had this tightness in the front of my knee/inside my knee. I don't know what it is. Could be the swelling, scar tissue or something else ....... My ROM hasn't improved (which is weird because I feel like I'm improving). The bending is the hardest part.

      Whenever I try to bend my knee and push it further than I can I just feel there is something internally? in my knee that is preventing/stopping me from bending. It's not painful but the only way I can describe it, is it's like having a door stopper inside my knee. I don't know if this is normal or not. It worries me, but I also don't want to think about it. Did you feel the same way when bending? I know we had 2 very different surgeries/experiences and but I was just wondering about it.

      I go to my doctor next week and I just decided to let go of my worries because whatever happen will happen. Nothing I can do about it.

      @Eaglebearer: Good for you. I am glad. Just in time for the holidays. Thank you

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