Iam 50 years old and a Firefighter and injured my left knee on July 15 2010, at first i saw a Dr, and they told me to Rice it and it would go away in a few weeks well its been over a month and some days now, seen 3 different Dr.s and finally had an MRI, Which shows i have a tear in my Meniscus. Oh how it happend we were taking a hose line up a stair way when it Flashed on us knocking us back and the guy in front of me fell into my knee, causeing alot of pain to the L/knee. But the problem is iam still having alot of pain and it pops and gives out at times, also when i turn it is the worst pain i have ever felt, they finally put me on Loratab to help me sleep. My family Dr said i may not have to have Surgery that the pain will go away. well would'nt you think it would have by now, I see a Ortho Dr today, I want Surgery not some shot, what do i do..... I know this is a quick explain of the injurie, But i need my legs and need to be 100% to do my job....
You'll have options with surgery. They can repair the torn meniscus or the can remove the torn piece. If the tear is partial, they can remove the the smallest part and then smooth off the rest. At your age, you will probably be better off with removal of a piece and smoothing off of the rest. We don't heal as well as the younger folk do....do we. So repair is probably not an option although it may work...I never rule out anything anymore.
But unlike your regular doc, I would have the surgery ASAP. The longer you walk on it, the more it breaks up and then you end up with irreversible arthritis as a result.
I walked on a torn meniscus for 2 years(torn at 14) and my knee acted like a giant grinder, slowly grinding up parts of the tear until it was removed, and I ended up needing a total replacement by age 24....except they wouldn't do one until I was 40. The more you walk on it, the more damage it does to the joint.
A meniscus removal and smoothing is day surgery with a scope. You have Band Aids on the incisions. A total repair is much more invasive and takes weeks on crutches but it might be worth it if it can be done. Everything is done with the ultimate result in mind....that you never need a joint replacement. You think...how do I avoid arthritis in this knee.
I thank God everyday for people like you who run in when we are running out so take care of yourself and do what is best for your long term. Get that torn piece out of there and then rehab to keep it strong.
I second Jenny's gratitude for and appreciation of, people like you - who are fighting fires and are first responders in other ways.
I don't know anything about knees - am not the knee veteran Jenny is, but I hope that you are being seen by a specialist in knee problems and not just your family doctor - good as he or she is for general health problems.These knees are very delicate joints.
Please keep us posted on how things are going and what you are going to have done.
Had two hip replacements about a year apart - the last one being August 2009.
Last edited by Silver Swan; 09-03-2010 at 04:26 PM.
Given your job surgery seems the most logical. Just like these collegiate football players and pro who are having these type of surgeries to be able to play in the regular season a few weeks away.....you are looking at the same type of desire to get back to working without pain! Make sure the ortho knows you are a firefighter and you want to preserve the rest of the meniscus so if surgery will help that then you are open to that.
Just met with a Ortho guy and he said my Left knee is Terrible, with 2 major tear in the meniscus, He's more worried about the looks of my ACL, He said it looks like its tore bad,He cant belive iam Walking let alone still working, well work has been stoped by my Chief, So now i wait for Surgery.... Thanks for the Kind words Folks. How long does an ACL repair take hoping to get back to work fast.....
ACL repair surgery requires a relatively long rehab (at least a few months especially given your job). They'll get you into physical therapy right after. And if you are dedicated to working toward recovery you'll do well. The rehab can be painful but if you push through it you'll find it gets easier.
I tore my MCL and ACL. Had to have surgery to replace ACL with donor cadaver ACL. Recovery was long. 6 weeks before starting PT after surgery. Then they said I could do light duty at 3 mos....wasn't supposed to lift over 20 pounds. I had to wait to get a job after graduating from school as a nurse as I wouldn't pass the physical testing requirements. Had to be able to squat and to be able to lift over 50 pounds. The ortho doc wouldn't release me to do that until almost 6 months after surgery. I wore the full leg brace for 3 months beyond the 6 month mark when I was doing anything physical outside, just because I was afraid of tearing the new part. I'm somewhat careful now about how I move or run and stop and still do quad exercises and bike riding to keep muscles in shape to lessen risk of another injury.
When this happened, I was 54 yrs of age and had completed one year of a two year program in school. I had to take a year off of school, because of the injury. I couldn't do clinicals in hospital. It's been two years as of July 31 since the injury and my knee is doing fine.
I forgot to mention the knee brace. Most are black, hinged at the knee, and go from thigh to ankle. As you recover they'll adjust the brace to allow more movement (bending) in the knee.
And there are a few different ways to replace the ACL. Part of the patellar tendon (kneecap is the patella)can be used, a portion of the hamstring, or allograft (cadaver donor). I'm guessing for anyone with a physical job they'll choose to use the allograft cadaver ACL. When they use a patellar tendon graft or hamstring that creates a second area of the body that has to heal and that would be tougher for those wanting to return to a physical job.
After recovery I was fitted with a custom brace that keeps the knee stable. If you watch a college or pro football team you see these braces frequently. They aren't bulky, are a bit more sleek but hinge at the knee. These are used to prevent further injury when doing activities such as sports or physical jobs. I rarely used mine as I've never been an athlete but the doctor recommended one and it made sense in my case "just in case".