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Arthroscopy - Knee
CREATED: 01/13/11 by morunner66 REPLIES: 11
morunner66's ravatar morunner66    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 728
Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/13/11 10:14 AM

Anyone out there had arthroscopy on a knee? I have some "degenerative" damage in my left knee. Ortho is pointing towards arthoscopy. PT says stick with PT. This is an ongoing issue and becoming frustrating. Recovery for arthroscopy is 6 weeks (minimum?) and if I am going to do it, I need to go in 1st week in Feb to be ready for spring tri season.

Wondering what others experience has been with the surgery and recovery?

I've been doing PT since November with little change in the pain. I don't want to miss Tri season!

trisha's ravatar trisha    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 133
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/13/11 10:43 AM

I was in the same place and everyone told me it was fabulous and the quickest fix for what ails your knee, but if I could go back and skip the knee scoping I definitely would. Nothing's ever the same once you cut it open no matter how small the cut is.
If it were me, I'd try a new PT for a fresh perspective first. Give that a month and if you Really need surgery then get it done.

rdejonck's ravatar rdejonck    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 84
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/13/11 11:29 AM

I'll give a different perspective than Trisha.

In fall '08, I signed up for IMFL 2009. A month later, I was in to my ortho complaining about recurring knee pain due to osteoarthritis. I'd been through one cycle of Hayalgan (a viscosupplement) injections with good results. So, we started a new round of injections. By January, it was obvious the Hayalgan was not helping. The ortho suggested not just scoping but some repair of the cartelige. I had the surgery done in March of '09.

I was actually told 6-12 weeks of recovery before I could run on it again. And I needed that full 12 weeks. However, my ortho did say I could start riding a trainer (NOT a moving bike) a few days after surgery. No high tension, no standing, but I could get in my long aerobic zone 2 riding. He also said I could start swimming again when the stitches came out about a week later. I had to be careful pushing off the walls, and breaststroke was a big no-no. But running took the whole 12 weeks with a lot of PT. I went on later that year to get close to my PR in a half-marathon (don't think I'll ever beat my PR... I don't run 50mi/week anymore) and finish IMFL with a decent time.

I think the PT helped a lot, especially the exercises that strengthened my hips and stabilized my knee. But the surgery was invaluable to fix the damage I had already done by having weak hips and core muscles. I do notice some things are different now. I can tell when it is about to rain based on pain in my knee. (I actually asked my ortho about this and he said there was some truth to that based on the quickly changing barmoetric pressure). I have to be careful about my stride and incorporate those PT exercises into strength training (when I actually train anymore) to prevent further injury. Even so, there are the rare days when I still have dull residual pain, but it quickly disipitates. Two years on, and I have not had a reason to go back to the ortho (other than perscribed follow-ups that stopped 6mo after surgery).

If I were in the situation again, I would certainly take the surgery. I was very pleased with the results. It was as good as I could realistically expect. It was hard, but following the prescribed recovery was essential. I got my fix in by doing some aquavelos and swim portions of relays before I was cleared to run again. So, when looking at the 6week recovery, ask about doing other sports like swimming and riding a trainer.


SSPT    JOINED: 5/28/09    POSTS: 87
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/14/11 9:24 AM

My recovery from arthroscopy for a meniscal tear was longer than I had anticipated. The surgeon did not repair the tear, instead opting to trim out imperfection surgically. I was on the exercise bike day one post-op but did not get back to running activity for months. As a physical therapist, I recognize that most people recover at different paces. What work really well for me was using the stationary bike to build some semblance of endurance, then transition to pool running to get my legs back. I spent weeks in the pool. At first I was in deep water with a belt, then onto more shallow water weightbearing. It was tedious but worked.
Six weeks of therapy is a good timeline to gauge a response to the treatment. If a person shows no progress, a re-assessment needs to be done to ensure all problems are being addressed. If you have specific questions, feel free to reach out to me at

morunner66's ravatar morunner66    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 728
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/14/11 9:37 AM

Hi Robert -

I am currently a patient of Jennifer Dabbs in your practice. I am still on the fence on whether to have the arthoscopy or not.


JHJ20012's ravatar JHJ20012    JOINED: 2/1/10    POSTS: 197
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/14/11 12:32 PM

Hi Maureen,

Sorry to hear about your knee. Will keep my fingers crossed for a speedy recovery whatever your choice.


kev7's ravatar kev7    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 470
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/14/11 1:10 PM

Good luck. I hope you heal up fast.

I feel you pain. I have been experiencing knee pain since two weeks after Philly. My Ortho thinks it is just tendonitis. I am hoping that mine is nothing major but the pain is still lingering 6 weeks later. No fun!

morunner66's ravatar morunner66    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 728
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/14/11 1:13 PM

Hi kev7 - thanks. If your pain persists, I would recommend our merchant partner - Sports & Spinal PT for some phyisical therapy.

kristoferkitto's ravatar kristoferkitto    JOINED: 1/24/10    POSTS: 59
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/14/11 2:20 PM

I had arthroscopy on my right knee in the fall of '07 after tearing my ACL and mensicus playing soccer. I would definitely do it again, and I highly recommend my surgeron, Jonas Rudzki of Washington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine -- but recovery was one of the most difficult and painful things I've done in my life. (Based on my experience, I'd say that hoping to be ready for spring triathlons is ambitious.)

To echo what a few others have said here, if you opt for surgery, don't think of it as a replacement for physical therapy. It's more of a "both/and" situation. In fact, I credit my strong recovery to the relentless physical therapy I pursued in the three months after the operation.

I'm happy to answer more questions off line at kristoferkitto (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Good luck. I have literally felt your pain.


vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 685
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/14/11 3:21 PM

that sucks, tendonitus in the knee is something you really have to watch, don't try to tough it with workouts through "a little pain". not a good idea.

i had really really bad tendonitus in my knee earlier this year to the point where i couldn't bend my knee anymore without a tearing feeling, and it lingered to some extent for 8 weeks even with good treatment, i had it for at least 8 weeks beforehand but at the time it wasn't "bad enough to stop me" from doing anything so i worked out through it, terrible idea. that is probably when made me have to go through basically 8 weeks of pt and a 2 month gradual ramp up back after that, completely trashed my entire season.

and to the OP if you get surgery, it might be best to mentally write off the entire season for the coming year and get healthy so that you can do years more of triathlons down the line.

listen to what your doctors tell you to do and recover properly.

good luck.

smakane's ravatar smakane    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 50
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/14/11 6:22 PM

I've had both knees scoped and would do it again in a heartbeat... after dealing with weeks/months of PT for knee pain resulting from a torn menicus in my left knee and plica and cartilage in the right... I opted for surgery with a colleague of my brother who is aggressive and specializes with athletes/runners. I completed Eagleman HIM 4 weeks after having my left knee scoped and had right knee done 2 weeks after EM... my surgeon told me that the knee that didn't have surgery would bother me more during the race than the one post-surgery... he was right.

Trust your body and your instincts.

sportsbrajen's ravatar sportsbrajen    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 42
RE: Arthroscopy - Knee
POSTED: 1/15/11 8:19 AM

I had my knee scoped in 08 after spending months on non-surgical options (cortisone shots, PT, Synvisc injections). Recovery was a a longer (~12 weeks to get back running) as I had some excessive fluid that ultimately had to be drained, but I attribute that mostly to being a bad patient. I've been pain free since and regret wasting time (and almost an entire season) putting off the surgery.

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