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Jim Aldridge 08-18-2006 07:03 AM

I haven't posted in quite a long time, but my wife and I have been doing crossfit pretty regularly for a few months now. While grappling with a friend, I injured both knees. The Orthopoedic Surgeon says he is pretty sure I have a torn ACL in my right leg and a torn meniscus in my left leg. We are awaiting MRI results. He gave me a knee brace so that I can return to work (firefighter) until we can schedule a surgery. Also, I have ongoing "golfer's elbow" in my left arm.

I have a few questions for those who have traveled this road before. I will also be discussing these issues with my surgeon, but I would like any of y'all who know something about knee injuries to weigh in.

1) Would you get both knees repaired at the same time, or take on one surgery at a time? Bear in mind that I have a limited amount of sick time.

2) I read in the archives that I should strengthen my leg muscles as much as possible before surgery. What exercises could I use to do that given the nature of my injuries?

3) Don't know how bad the meniscus tear is yet. How many of y'all have a torn meniscus and just "live with the pain?" Is that even feasible for people who do demanding crossfit workouts?

4) With the golfer's elbow (which I am having to rest) do y'all have any suggestions for what I can safely do to stay in shape while I am rehabbing post surgery?

Once again, whatever answers I receive, I will be discussing them with my surgeon and PT. I just wanted to be a bit more educated on the issues before my next consultation. I would welcome any other advice or wisdom that you can offer beyond the answers to my questions; also, any words of encouragement are much needed. I am SEVERELY bummed over this and feeling more like I am 73 years old rather than 37.

Jerimiah Childress 08-21-2006 10:31 AM

1) generally we don't recommend both knees at the same time, but you would probably be all right getting away with it. Generally we discourage it because of weight bearing issues, but your shouldn't have any problems with weight bearing on the meniscal side.

2)Basically you just want to do flexion and extension of the knee in a non weight bearing position, especially for the ACL knee. The meniscal knee you should be able to do weight bearing exercises like Squats and lunges, but pain is probably going to limit that and you want to avoid any possible further damage, especially before surgery when further damage is more likely.

3)I have never had one, but my boss just got his repaired after about 5-6 years of living with it. He never did anything along the lines of crossfit, but did several long distance (150+ miles) bike rides.

4)you want to start with general range of motion (i.e. wrist circles, wrist flexion/extension, pronation/supination), then begin doing these exercises with light weight 1-2 pounds slowly increased as you can without pain.

Damon Stewart 08-22-2006 07:06 AM

I'm having surgery on a torn meniscus next week (also torn while grappling). One of my training partners had the same surgery and said he was able to run 4 days later. However, his surgery only involved cutting out the damaged portion of his meniscus. If they attempt to repair the meniscus my understanding is the recovery time is 6-8 weeks.

Jim Aldridge 08-29-2006 10:26 AM

Thanks for the input. I have scheduled both knee surgeries for September 11. The surgeon told me that he will be removing part of my meniscus on my left knee (apparently I am too old at age 37 to have it repaired) and he will be using my patellar tendon to reconstruct the ACL in my right knee. I am still struggling with the whole golfer's elbow thing, but maybe the rest I am getting after the surgery will take care of that, too.

I keep wondering how much of this has to do with my age (the doctor referring to 37 as "too old" for a meniscus repair didn't help) but the way I see it, I can either live an active lifestyle and risk this kind of injury, or I can be a couch potato and die of a heart attack at 40. Think I'll stick with crossfit.

Elliot Royce 08-29-2006 11:55 AM

Can't help you on the knees but my golfer's elbow has been helped by two cortisone shots and a treatment where they infuse medicine into you through an electrical current (something-pheresis --- help Jerimiah!). After hanging around for 3 months, it's now gone. I'm also working on strengthening the forearm muscles through wrist curls. A good PT should be able to help you. Just doing nothing didn't help me.

As for your age, you wouldn't be on this site if you weren't active. My lessons learned, though, are: don't try to progress too quickly, the O lifts are far trickier than they look, and give yourself time for recovery

Jerimiah Childress 08-29-2006 12:49 PM

One of the local doctors who refer's patients to us says that the only thing you can blame on old age is gray hair and wrinkles, and I tend to agree. There is some degredation due to normal use, but it is minimal. Most of the damage we do to our bodies comes from abuse or misuse. Doing too much too fast or doing things we have no business doing in the first place. As far as the meniscus repair, "Too old" simply means that you aren't an elite level competitive athlete at or near their prime, which is what I am routinely told is the criteria for going to the trouble of repairing a meniscus.

Keep us posted on how your surgery and subsequent therapy goes.

William Hunter 08-29-2006 01:25 PM

Elliot - iontophoresis

Jim, after surgery they'll send you to PT for the knees. You could mention your elbow to the ortho and see if he'll write a script for elbow rehab as well.

David Philipson 09-05-2006 04:51 PM


I'm a Chiropractor trained in A.R.T, and have helped tons of knees.

I think it is really worth the time and money to try and dig one up in your area. If it doesn't make a huge difference after one or two visits...then you have injury to the joint and get your surgery.

If it does...well, it can solve your problem in just a few treatments.

I think it is well worth trying, just be prepared for some intense pain.

Jim Aldridge 09-12-2006 12:32 PM

Had both knees operated on yesterday. I am a little sore on the right side (the acl reconstruction) but feel great on the left side (removed part of the meniscus). I am sure that oxycodon is a large part of the reason I am doing so well. I start physical therapy tomorrow. I feel like I could walk without crutches right now, but my wife won't let me until I talk to the physical therapist. One of her main roles in my life is to function as the voice of reason to keep me from hurting myself, so I'll play it her way for now, but I am already tired of feeling like a gimp.

Jerimiah Childress 09-12-2006 01:13 PM

Sounds good Jim. You won't be on those crutches long. Wives are good at that.

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