/ Medial Meniscal Knee Tear

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The sharp end - on 09 Sep 2017
Need some insight. Been diagnosed with a small medial meniscal tear in knee. It hurts when I squatt and when I do odd moves with my left knee. Walking does not generally hurt. It is not swollen at all.

Anyone else have this? Was it true that for small tears these can settle without surgery. Am totally gutted as after a year off from climbing due to illness was just starting to get back into it. I do not recall injuring my knee but apparently did a very high step in a climb recently so this tear may be because of that but also age related together with my body having been through the mill.

Any insights MOST welcome.

walts4 - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

Yes, I've completely destroyed my meniscal tissue on one side due to a accident many years ago, never been aware until last year when pain & swelling on the opposite side of the affected knee led me to seek medical advice & a MRI.

Totally gutted after talking to the consultant but after no running, but normally walking in the mountains & lots of rest when experiencing pain it slowly improved.

But after becoming aware that I was seriously depleted in mineral intake in my diet due to work location & lots of previous exercise, I started to take a mineral supplement. This has been the most beneficial help in recovering & healing, needless to say I'm back running but importantly listening to my body whilst doing so.
I also had to avoid long slab routes, hanging stances with a straight leg whilst doing so seemed to really aggravate it.

Good luck on the recovery, I was told that tear recovery is possible & my experience seems to confirm that, (depends on your muscle mass I think) & to avoid surgery unless absolutely necessary.
keith sanders - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

Check out PRP injection on the web Fiona my wife had it in a torn muscle in her shoulder instead of surgery and now back climbing ok. I'm looking at it for my knee after 18 months of not being to climb to my full ability because off pain and my knee occasionally collapsing .
The sharp end - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

Thank for this. Will look into supplementation (am sure my body is very depleted after chemotherapy) and also PRP injections.

GRUMPY MONKEY - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

I'm still waiting for mri results to see if anything else is going on with my knee. But my physio has given me an exercise regime to strength the knee and improve flexibility in the surrounding muscles. The knee is still sore when she massages it but she thinks I will survive the gr20 next week and kalymnos a couple weeks later.
monkey man - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

i have done both menisci and had both operated on. they can heal but it depends where the tear is, i.e. if it is in the are with blood supply or not. mine function normally now for everything bar high rock overs. i waited 18mo for surgery on one which now has some arthritis and gives jip in the cold and wet but otherwise all ok. the other had surgery private 10 days post injury and is much better. the recovery for second was easier too with limited muscle loss - so keep going physio, but personally if consultant recommended surgery i wouldnt hesitate.

good luck
Allovesclimbin - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

I had a more severe episode of this a couple of years back. Mobilise it gently and it will get better. I could hardly walk for a few weeks but climbed with a knee brace . Avoid over flexing your knee , particularly when weighted.
The edge of the cartilage has a good ish blood supply and heals well, if the year goes deeper it will take longer and may not heal totally. I would avoid injections and surgery. You are unlikely to need repair and arthroscopic ( with a telescope) are seldom helpful. These conditions improve as you heal. Google it and get advice. No injections or similar interventions have been shown to help long term .
I was back to full climbing , including winter , fell running etc in a few months. Two tips. Use poles for walk ins and avoid sit starts Bouldering. Good luck .
ian caton on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

I had op. I would put up with years without climbing to reverse that decision.

The sharp end - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to ian caton:

Being a bit thick and not sure I get your reply.

In reply to everyone else...thank you so much for your comments. Been really helpful and insightful.

Kevster - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

My knee is shot.
I had a bucket handle tear which eventually resulted in a 90 degree locked knee. I had no pain or swelling leading upto the locking up, but was aware something wasn't right, when it happened i just couldn't straighten my knee at all. Heroically down climbed the v6 I was on. Hospital, surgery, and a reasonable, amount of tissue removed. I then had pain and swelling, which subsided slowly.
I then made the decision to stop bouldering as I figured the impact would not help it in the long term. Falling on ropes only.
It took 6 months to get back to the standard I was at before the surgery, and longer to regain full confidence in my knee.

I now struggle with heavy packs and walking down hill. I'd recommend walking poles to assist if this becomes a problem.
Runing I think is a silly idea, and my knee complains within 100 yds of doing so. Cycling is a better low impact option.

I have a friend who has had both knees chopped the same, and he does iron mans for fun these days. I think you get a different genie each time the lamp is rubbed.

I expect a knee replacement at some point in the future. I've waited 5 years and taken out private medical insurance, the NHS isn't always the best for non life threatening injury and my lively hood relies on a level of physical ability.

Good luck, you've got the hand you've been dealt, and you can't change that. You just have to adapt and use your bonce.
duncan - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

The timing is very frustrating but it is common to injure yourself in this way as you've lost general fitness but you're eager to get going again.

I think your long-term outlook is very good. I had a small medial meniscus tear (MRI demonstrated) a year ago after dropped knee shenaigans indoor bouldering. I did intensive quads exercises and I was back climbing in about 5 weeks and after 3 months I managed the walk up to Naranjo de Bulnes and climbed the W face the following day.

Others upthread are describing much more serious conditions to yours. ian seems to be suggesting his operation went wrong in some way. Whatever you chose, try rehab. first.

A medical Prof. I know who specialises in musculoskeletal injuries described PRP as "a solution looking for a problem". It's been suggested the abbreviation also stands for profit related placebo!
mark_chal - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:
I had a bucket handle tear to my medial meniscus. For me it kept locking and surgery was the only real option. I was back climbing about 6 weeks post op. Took a while to come fully right but climbed my hardest route (7c) just under a year post surgery. Can still feel it when doing odd full knee flexion moves. Don't regret surgery at all. Although for you it may not be necessary yet.
ian caton on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

Translation = I regret surgery very much. Never fully recovered from it.
The sharp end - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

Wow. Again thanks to everyone for taking the time to share their story but also give advice. This is really appreciated.

My knee does not feel it has a major tear but definitely a medial one? Will see how it goes in the next few weeks and see if can avoid surgery...gulp! Maybe there is some hope.

Sending everyone good luck healing knee vibes!
HammondR on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:
As the above replies show, it all depends....

I had a partial menisectomy 25 years ago when my knee developed severe intermittent pains after a long trip to the alps. Guess I was mid 30s. The knee was absolutely fine for the next 20 years. I totally forgot about it, which was grand.

Turns out though that as I get older, I have rubbish cartilage. 5 years ago a "click" in the same knee soloing. Next morning swollen and stiff. Classic meniscal tear I was advised. I had great advice from the constant though; do all the physio strengthening and do all possible to avoid another trim. There is only so much to go at. I am very good at any and every exercise to get fit for climbing, and followed the regime to the letter. A peculiar twist on a dry ski slope rope tow and the knee locked out. This is a bad thing, and to remain active, necessitated surgery.

The knee has never felt 100% since. However, with hard work within 6 weeks a I was fit for my first ever week of off piste skiing. I am a lucky so and so and have been able to ski and ski tour for 4 months for each of the last 3 winters. The other knee went preparing for last winter! However this was different. The scan showed a tear which would require a lot of trimming to remove the damaged part. Key to my decision was the fact that there were apparently no fragments in the knee. They are a very bad thing and if trapped in the joint when one is active, can cause serious permanent damage. After physio strengthening regime (AGAIN!) I skied 80 days on it in the winter, With over 15000m skinning. My consultant treated "the symptoms not the scan".

So my take on this is;
Find a good consultant, i.e. One that specialises in knees, not a general surgeon, preferably with expertise in sportsmen/women.
Get a thorough diagnosis, particularly to identify if there is any risk of making things worse.
Whether or not surgery is for you, find the best set of prehabilitation/rehabilitation exercises and start doing them

Good luck

Bezz - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:
I had a minor meniscal tear in my left knee, don't know how it happened but was fortunate enough to get physio through work which consisted of ultrasound (which I believe helped break down the torn tissue, but could be wrong about that) and exercises to strengthen the knee.

After a few weeks of the exercises I was back to running again and I don't recall the last time I got any pain from it. The exercise that I feel helped the most was simply climbing stars leading with the injured leg.

Essentially, the physio said that muscle strength would support the knee (I suffer from chicken legs!) so I've aimed to keep my knees strong through resistance training.

Hope this helps (usual disclaimers about medical advice...I'm not a doctor and don't claim to be one etc...)

Good luck with it, I'm sure it'll be fine with a slow build up of the muscles around the affected knee.
mike smash - on 13 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:


knee problems are crap ....

I found this slideshow useful in understanding the problems I have with my knees. (page 9 in particular)

- to know what the issue with your knee is you may need an MRI scan

I have found Bowen therapy, Taping my knees, gentle yoga and non-weighted strengthening exercises all useful. AND now always use walking poles for long steep descents
adsheff - on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to The sharp end:

Anyone with knee problems, or just looking to avoid them would do well to consider a knee brace. A lot of sports people are treating them in the same way as helmets these days, so they become as much a preventative measure as anything else. People like Rebel are really getting into this with sites like

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