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Old 12-31-2011, 02:58 PM   #1
Teja Yenamandra
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Knee Instability - due to meniscus tear or imbalance?

Hello folks,
Hope the holidays are treating you well. Everyone's been helpful with my SLAP/Bankart saga so I figure I'd fire off a round of questions regarding my knees.

I tore my medial meniscus/MCL partially in 2008 on my right knee. The ortho recommended that I consider surgery if rehab wasn't successful, but I rehabbed that fully, and as of 2009-present was up to squatting respectable weight (for me, at least) with little to no pain.

Fastforward to April 2011 and I end up partially tearing my medial meniscus in my left knee playing rugby. This ortho recommended that I didn't seek surgery for this knee, and that it should rehab fine until maybe 10 years down the line I'd need to get it 'cleaned up.'

So, after I returned to full ROM (fairly quickly, actually), I began to train as normal. But by mid-summer, my knees became more painful/less stable. Slowly, pistol squats became tough, even painful, and I could no longer do them without assistance. I experienced instability even when air squatting.

As a result, I've stayed away from anything that caused pain for 2 months (except walking, of course) while focusing on my other injuries. I've been slowly reintegrating my old PT routine (i.e., ice, intense stretching, ankle, calf, hamstring, quad and hip work) used to rehab my first meniscal tear. After about 6 weeks, my knees are now 80% (and improving, I think) but there's still some degree of instability when air squatting to parallel and medial pain on knee if I go past it. If I take a super wide stance and really focus on my hamstrings, I can get to parallel without pain, but there's still some instability on the way up. Same thing if I put a pillow in between my legs and squat down and up ‑ no pain when descending or in the parallel position, but some instability coming up (I heard this test verifies if pain is due to knee-caps properly tracking). Also, OHP with a broomstick feels great, while front squats and and airsquats feels relatively crappy medially.

There's no pain when walking, ascending or descending stairs, and my instability/balance in everyday life is not prohibitive. After my improvised rehab sessions, my knees are a little sore that night and the next day. But that's par for the course.

What do you think? Can't afford to see a doctor about this ATM since I've used up the coverage I've been given for my slew of other injuries.

Thanks, guys. I've racked up my injuries in 2011. Here's to an injury-free 2012!

Last edited by Teja Yenamandra : 12-31-2011 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 01-01-2012, 01:02 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Knee Instability - due to meniscus tear or imbalance?

Well, what likely happened is that after the tear the meniscus (if it was in the red zone) and MCL likely stabilized with some scar tissue.

However, once you started doing a lot of exercise on it it's possible the scar tissue broke up and thus the knee has become less stable again.

I can't tell from your description but it sounds like you are having meniscus problems (coming in and out of the hole) but with some reduction in pain with stabilization of the knee.

So, not much you can do until you get this checked out again.

If you know an orthopedic doc or PT who can take a look at it for you for free that would be good...

But it if it really is a reinjury of your injuries then you'll likely have to get the surgery to be able to do a lot of lifting and higher level activities.
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