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Charlie Downey 05-15-2005 07:28 PM

This is great! I've been doing CF for about a week, and reading the boards every day and nite when I can. Lots of smart, sophisticated, experienced folk here. So, I'm hoping someone who's pretty knee knowledgeable will read this and respond.

4 months ago or so, I had arthroscopic knee surgery to trim up some torn meniscus, do a little lateral release and some microfracture (to try and grow some "pseudo-cartilage" back). No arthritis - caught it in time. I'm at the point now where working my leg doesn't really make my knee [i]hurt[/i]; just sometimes makes it kinda achy and sore and a little puffy for a day or so.

I've been doing the WODs for the last week with subs and assistance when necessary, even the squats/deadlifts that have been a part of that day's particular recipe. When doing the leg stuff, I've been careful, slow, controlled and not terrifically deep on the ROM and with less than maximum weight when weight is RX'd.

What I'm wondering is: How concerned do I need to be about tearing up what I went under the knife to get fixed? I'm not worried about the meniscus or the lateral release parts; just the microfracture. Does anyone here have either knowledge or experience with this? The surgeon acted like (this was a couple of months ago) he really didn't want me doing squats/leg extensions/dead lifts, etc. for the rest of my life. I just don't think I can live like that... My physical therapy dude said squats and the like are okay, carefully done. So I want to hear from someone who's doing CF and has experience with any of this.

How about timing? Am I okay moving into this carefully and building my weights/speed/ROM now or do I need to find something else to do for a while?

What I [i]want[/i] to hear is that I'm good to go, as long as I do it carefully and that CF's gonna help me bring my knee back into behaving itself. What I [i]don't[/i] wanna hear is that I've got to lay off good, hard leg stuff.

But I'll abide by any wisdom y'all have got for me. [i]Plus[/i], if you've got any advice for me, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks gobs.


Lynne Pitts 05-16-2005 02:09 AM

Hey Charlie,
Welcome aboard! I'm going to move this over to Injuries. Good luck with that knee.

Dan Silver 05-16-2005 02:35 AM

Charlie, welcome.

You, more than anybody, are qualified to answer your own question. I don't mean this in a patronizing way, I simply mean that you are the only person in touch with your body.

Your Doctor will probably tell you to lay off the knee and not squat. Common medical understanding is that the squat is a harmfull movement. That's crap. Coach has an alogorithm for causing injury: Do something wrong and add a bunch of weight. Presto.

From your post it sounds like you are doing everything right. Start out with light weight, watch for swelling, use ice when you need to, etc. You'll be fine as long as you avoid the urge to blast yourself into the "Worlds Strongest Man" squat challenge (you know, the one with the kegs...).

Most athletes will tell you that there are two types of pain, the pain of effort and the pain of injury. You should be able to tell which one is effecting you at any given time. If you feel like you are going to injure yourself, stop.

I believe that Crossfit is very safe, provided that one takes the time to learn the lifts properly. I can personally attest to now having a, borderline, freakish recovery time from sports injuries. The slide shows and videos exist for a reason, check them out if you feel like you are headed down screw-up road.

You'll be fine. Have fun.

It's not to late to turn back though... Save yourself!


Lincoln Brigham 05-16-2005 08:39 AM

Right, your doctor will likely want you to put your knee away in a drawer and not use it ever again.

Charlie Downey 05-16-2005 09:12 AM

Dan and Lincoln:

Good. That's the attitude I was looking for! Anything that agrees with what I already wanted to do. :biggrin:

Seriously though Dan, that's really good advice. Fitness is really not an option for me, and I'm [i]really[/i] excited about CF. I'm kind of stunned at how quickly I atrophied, gained weight, lost my wind and just generally fell off the table, fitness-wise, after the surgery. It was incredibly fast! And the worse I got, the worse I felt and the less energy I had to do anything about it. And then it starts getting in your head. Depressing, man. I started moving as soon as I could, but everything was progressing so slowly. So now, I'm sold out on CF; it is going to be the game. I just have to "push it" carefully.

No worries. I've done that a lot.

And Lincoln, I really do get the take that the doc kind of thinks that way. He'd never admit it, and probably doesn't know he thinks it. But the way he talks, bicycling's about the most vigorous activity he thinks my knee will put up with. And the funny part is that according to the doc, the knee wasn't that bad to begin with! That is, considering how old I am and how hard I've been on it (motorcycle accidents, sports injuries, etc).

He and his staff act as if now that I'm all grown up, I need to act my age and quit with all the high expectations and intense activity. You know, just try to maintain a little fitness, but stop with the caveman stuff.

Charlie Downey 05-16-2005 09:13 AM

Oh, yeah...

Thanks for replying.


Dan Silver 05-17-2005 02:13 AM

No problem, Bro. Good luck and stick with it. I guarantee the transformation your body will go through will be profound.


Carrie Klumpar 05-22-2005 12:57 PM


What Dan said is excellent advice.

I would agree with the doc on one thing: you (or anyone for that matter) don't need to ever do leg extensions again. :crazy: Do something functional instead. Like...yes, squats and deadlifts!

That said, go slow with the weight. Make impeccable form, especially for squats, your absolute highest priority. Is that hard? Is it slow and sometimes frustrating? Yes. Will you get impatient? Probably. Is it worth doing it anyway? Yes.

In your quest for perfect form, also go (gradually, intelligently, and without weight, at least for a while) for full ROM. The movements themselves, executed slowly and properly and consistently, are incredibly beneficial. You do not have to lift big weights to get big benefits. Working with no weight--a broomstick or PVC pipe--and doing it right will whip you into shape, restore your ability, and set you up for continuing success far more effectively than piling weight on incorrect or even marginal form. And it’s way harder and more tiring than it probably sounds.

If you don’t have it already, you might want to get the latest issue of the CrossFit Journal (May 2005, issue #33) and check out Coach Glassman’s “Working Wounded” article. Searching this forum (maybe try searching for topics on knees or backs in the Injuries forum) will also turn up other stories of how functional movement helped rehab and restore people’s function and fitness that you might find interesting and inspiring.

Oh, and this is a huge topic but important enough that I have to mention it: Pay attention to your diet. To heal and be strong and reduce inflammation and maintain a weight that your joints can support, etc., etc., your body really needs the right fuels. There is a wealth of information in the Nutrition forum. It’s all part of the picture.

Welcome to CF, and good luck with that knee.

Charlie Downey 05-22-2005 09:13 PM


That is really good stuff. Thanks. [i]And[/i] it really gives me some hope. It is frustrating in the extreme to want to throw yourself into CF - to run, jump, really push it - and to think you might not be able to do that again, ever. Don't get me wrong: I've got lots of other areas that need work (and they're getting it). But to do without the leg stuff would be brutal.

So, I'm pumped! I'm a gonna do what you and Dan have suggested. I'll take it slow, careful, light and disciplined. I can do that. I'm good at disciplined. And I've got a high tolerance for delayed gratification.

As an aside, my knee was pretty puffy and sore a couple of days ago (before my post here). After reading Dan and Lincoln's comments, I began doing full ROM, careful, slow squats with no weight. I even used the power rack for stability...Next day, no pain. My knee felt great and the puffiness was down considerably.

I don't understand how that works, but it do!

Also, you're right about the nutrition thingy being a huge topic. I've been cruising the forums for weeks. Can you give me any more specific direction on where to look for diets that help with joint inflammation/healing? Maybe keywords or specific threads to read? I'll be looking on my own, but anything you provide that'll focus my search efforts would be appreciated.

Thanks for the help and thanks for the response.

Graham Tidey 05-25-2005 06:00 AM

Charlie, I didn't have surgery but my knees were long-term nightmares and the doctors around here gave me the stupidest advice I ever heard.

CF has pretty much healed them right up. Still not perfect but the change is so great that I forget I had sore knees. Good form squats, arse down to your ankles are godsends. Thrusters, squat jumps, lunges... all fantastic. I just found that I got a little pain really going for high load deadlifts so backed off them a little. I expect in a while they'll be fine too, though.

Just don't try and compete for time with those without buggered knees and push yourself carefully whenever you squat. You'll be reet.

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