Meniscus injury symptoms - is this normal?

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I'm a very active 60 year old guy who runs and bikes regularly. Three months ago, I suffered a knee injury when attempting to run thru a sore left knee that two doctors strongly suspect is a medial meniscus tear. I passed on the MRI at the time because I would have to pay for it and regardless the treatment plan was to rest. From a clinical standpoint, I didn't think the tear was that bad as I really didn't suffer a range of motion loss (can't quite sit on my haunches) and no locking, etc. X-rays look pretty good, perhaps a touch of OA but generally good separation between the tibia and fibula. However three months in, healing process is very slow. The symptoms tend to vacillate thruout the day from feeling almost normal to having an achy knee in general with localized inner lower knee pain and as expected, feeling worse when I'm on my feet a lot. Forget about running again, I can't walk any length of distance without the knee becoming progressively more uncomfortable. I can bike some, mostly on the exercise bike but limit that to a half hour max at a not high intensity. The worst part is sleeping. It will be ok when falling asleep but will wake up in the middle of the night with sharp lower inner knee pain like ithe area was bruised. I know the knee doesn't like being straight for long periods of time, particularly when lying on my stomach.

Is this normal recovery for a meniscus tear? One of the doctors suggested it would take three to six months to heal but three months in, I would think I would have a more progressive upward trend between periods of feeling mostly ok to periods of feeling definitely not ok. Also I have been trying to do more lower body strengthening, to the level I can, trying to concentrate on glute exercises as suggested by Youtube videos. Youtube has good advice but it's varied and scattered. I probably do have a quad to hamstring muscle imbalance but some sites, suggest not doing any quad exercises at all as stronger quads will press down on the meniscus more, not a good thing while healing. Does this sound like sound reasoning? The left leg with the knee injury is definitely weaker than the good right leg and I'm not totally comfortable ignoring the quad completely.

Thanks for any thoughts or guidance particularly from people who have been thru this.

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    Sorry for your situation.

    I understand not wanting to do an MRI due to finances. It could potentially help to show how big/bad and exactly where it is located. But MRI isn't always completely perfect for that either, as it can miss some, so arthroscopy seems most accurate (I've read and seen that some places will do diagnostic ones, in-office, no general anesthesia, doesn't take long). I think they'd likely try MRI first, but if inconclusive, based on your symptoms they could do the scope to see better. My MRI didn't show any tears, despite it being suspected, and current doc isn't listening and doesn't want to pursue further testing, so I'll be going elsewhere. I've seen photos of how MRI can miss it, especially depending on quality of machine (sometimes).

    If you're paying out of pocket... not having to go through the insurance steps... maybe it'd be worth finding a place that will maybe do the out-patient scope, at least I've read about it and seen a video on it online (doesn't have to be surgery, just diagnostic) without making you do the MRI... Because if MRI confirms it, you may still need scope to see full extent or get repair anyway. And if MRI doesn't show it but nothing helps and it doesn't get better... you'd have to do scope anyway if it's suspected it was missed... But that's just my opinion based on my situation and thoughts. If cost wasn't a factor at all, then doing MRI first makes sense, but since it is, potentially having to do both would of course up the cost.

    But then again, maybe you don't have a tear and it could be a different kind of injury or issue.

    Did the doctor say if it isn't healed in six months, next steps? I mean, I assume it would be the MRI and onward from there.

    I injured my knee and thought it would get better, I didn't get it checked right away. It didn't get better. With more use it got worse, fast. I then went in. If you had a tear, it could have gotten worse. I had an exam and xray done by a nurse practitioner, who, based on all symptoms and circumstance of how it happened and on her exam, suspected was a tear of either meniscus or ligament. I then was given an MRI and referred to an ortho. Due to lack of MRI evidence (regarding the injury) on that, he blew it off and tried to say my issues are from a condition I've had forever. That condition was not disabling. That condition doesn't get worse overnight after an injury and is totally separate. It just happened to show on the MRI. I know how that knee pain feels, some days mean painful rising from squats, crunchy knee noises, that's it. He couldn't even give answers or make sense about how what I'm going through now has to do with that. Saying general nonsense or that he can't answer my questions. He also dismissed the fluid inside and said it could be anything... But I know that without testing he can't know what it is. Nurse thought it could be blood from injury. He either misunderstands the situation since I did eventually complain about the other knee as well (due to overcompensation likely). Or he just really isn't the best or most caring at his job. That happens. Pushing meds and P.T. on me but not for the right condition so I hope therapists won't disregard that there's an injury in there somewhere that is so far undiagnosed.

    I'm going to try and schedule a second opinion with someone else asap. Hoping to get a scope done to see more in depth.

    I can't bend my knee all the way even with no weight on it. Can't do it at all with weight. Can't walk normal, can't stand much on it. Hurts to move it in bed. I went from being totally physically able to do anything at all and working a very physical job, to being disabled. And it is taking a toll on my other knee too.

    My muscles also weakened like yours, seems to happen quickly when you can't do much or even walk much or walk properly, which makes things hurt as well. I had to wait a couple weeks for MRI and results, all the while weakening. All for nothing at this point with that doc.

    I may get one more look by someone else covered by insurance but after that, on my own. Since I can't work, trying to find something remote now so that I can get the money to pay out of pocket after that if it comes to it. Really don't know what I'm going to do...

    I've seen some of those videos you mentioned on youtube too, so I'm kind of not wanting to focus on quads. But maybe doing a little is okay... I don't know. I can't really do much for exercise since I can't bear the weight or bend it much but I'll try and do what I can. I'm scared to make it worse too. But I don't want the joint to get too stiff, so just try to do little by little bends in bed, no weight on it. Can't do bending while laying with the leg raised, either, way too painful.

    You've probably come across a lot of things I have if you've been searching and searching. I'd like to avoid surgery, but they say only some areas of the meniscus can heal itself and probably only some tears of ligaments too. However I've heard also that some meniscus tears that surgery is typically done on maybe could have healed on their own, maybe enough time isn't given for it to happen sometimes since it takes longer being cartilage. But I don't know how much evidence there is as far as what percentage actually heal, and in the meantime you have to hope don't get worse.

    I've tried to ask people claiming that the tears can heal themselves, of if they have seen definitive evidence of there having been a tear in the first place and then the absence of one, or if it was based on people reporting symptoms and saying their symptoms got better. I wanted to know if it could FULLY heal itself. No answers yet. I'd like to know if you hear anything or find out with your own situation.

    I've been dealing with whatever happened in my knee for around a month now, but have been really careful and limited with it for a little over two weeks (limited as in by pain and inability to do things).

    I think mine was being more aggravated by trying to move around on it much, even just walking, brace or not. Sometimes it even felt like a brace hurt it by pressing after not long at all. I found a soft one to feel better than one with a hard ring around the kneecap. But still, I don't use one often as it doesn't really help or allow me to bear weight or walk normal either. I use crutches sometimes, because it helps to take the weight off (both sides at this point with the overcompensation). I don't feel like the issue is healing, but I'm able to keep it from getting as painful to sleep or just when sitting even, by staying off of it more... unfortunately being disabled. I prop a pillow (sometimes small, sometimes bigger) or bunched up blanket under mine to sleep sometimes, because it hurts to leave it flat. Ice helped pain when it was just hurting even sitting, anti inflammatory med helped a little, but didn't restore use or motion.

    I'm sorry I can't really help or give much hope at this point. I'm on here trying to find some too, or hopefully find someone in my area that can make a good referral. But I want to reach out to people going through something similar too, because I know it can take a big toll on you emotionally and physically, especially when financial situation is involved and adding to it all. And when a doctor isn't listening.

    Best of luck and hope you get things figured out and taken care of and back to normal.

    At least it's a common thing and a lot of people, even if they have to get surgery, recover fully and go on to be very active again. I think the success of that could have to do with their drive to do the therapy after and their health in general, and of course somewhat the doctor/surgeon.

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