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Old 08-25-2011, 06:09 AM   #1
Jessica S Roberts
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MRI results - almost no menisci left on left knee! Help!

I've been having left knee pain for about 2 months now. Thought it was overuse because I started running more. Took it easy for a few weeks then tried light squatting. Too painful. Took it easy for a few more weeks. Last Tuesday tried to do lightweight thrusters (not even full range squat) and snap & pop. Intense pain. For sure it had to be a ligament. Wrong.

MRI shows that both the interior and anterior meniscus are almost gone. Doc said in essence, I have no cushioning in my left knee at all as a result of 20 years of abuse on my knee. (I played college volleyball and basketball and of course, now I CrossFit). Doc told me he was shocked to see someone so young (34) with such a bad knee. Told me I'm looking at a total knee replacement in about 10 years. Not what I wanted to hear but, I'll get through it. Here is my question:

Doctor strongly advised that I avoid any "pounding type" activity - squatting, box jumping and running. Advised that I swim (which I love to do and that's not a problem) and do upper body weights. But, I want to CrossFit. I know there are things that I just can't do anymore but has anyone else here been in this situation and how to you take care of you knee? What CrossFit activities did you continue to do that didn't bother your knee?

I'm meeting with my PT guy, who is also a Level 1 trainer, so he understands where I am coming from so that should help.

Thanks in advance for ya'lls help and suggestions!
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:44 PM   #2
Brent Sallee
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Re: MRI results - almost no menisci left on left knee! Help!

CrossFit and serious injuries don't mix very well. Because you have little meniscus, the friction within your knee is high, instead of very low and damage to the bones is exacerbated with jarring, compressive forces. Anything that promotes smooth gliding at the knee joint will be beneficial - it can actually help reduce pain and maybe restore some function. But, for example, anything with impact is out of the question (except maybe walking). Anything with heavy weightbearing through the most affected portion of the meniscus is out of the question (it will exacerbate pain, result in further degeneration).

If you're this pathological, good options are light, smooth motions - typically suggested exercises are cycling and swimming. If you don't change out your activity, you'll likely see a total knee replacement early on. Considering the best replacements tend to last 15ish years, you'd have to get another replacement by the time you're 55. After the first one, the second replacement typically doesn't take as well and the surgeon may not even go through with it. Trust me, having a fused knee is a bad way to go about living (I've seen it used after multiple failed total knee replacements).

At some point, you have to make a decision to be responsible with your body. Honestly, you could even CrossFit with a total knee replacement. Is that optimal? No. Will it require early replacement? Yes. Can it do permanent damage to the bones and surrounding structures, resulting in chronic pain and permanent loss of function? Sadly, yes. In this case, your doctor is the person to listen to. Maximize your function while minimizing further degeneration. The physical therapist can definitely help you out, but nobody can cure severe osteoarthritis.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:13 AM   #3
Terry Gibbs
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Re: MRI results - almost no menisci left on left knee! Help!

absolutley agree with Brent

as someone who is masters track, your health is much more important that your score ...

this is not what you want to hear , but I am having too many discussions with chronically injured athletes, double hip replacements, discussion on hip replacement revisons, knee replacement, chronic archilles that have been operated on too many times ..

take the time ... become and expert on your situation , but your case is as bad as any 50+ that I have heard ..

lots more in life than competition, make sure you can enjoy it

good luck
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:40 AM   #4
Jessica S Roberts
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Re: MRI results - almost no menisci left on left knee! Help!

Thank you very much for your advice!!! I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Have an appointment today with PT guy then an appointment with my ortho doc to design a safe and healthy course of physical fitness for me! I have decided that CrossFit is just not for me with this knee But, my health is more important that being a rock star!!! Thanks again
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