Partial meniscectomy: Frequently asked questions

Note: One of the most common operations in all of orthopaedics, and not just sports medicine, is surgery for a meniscus tear. I have noticed in my clinics over the last few years that there are several questions asked by most patients with these injuries. I decided it might be helpful to answer them in a blog post. In the coming months, I will create similar posts with video demonstrations and audio discussions to help the public understand these injuries and surgeries.

What is a meniscus?


The meniscus is the c-shaped piece of cartilage between the femur and tibia that serves as a shock absorber in the knee.

The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of shock-absorbing cartilage between the femur and the tibia in the knee. There is one on the medial side (side closest to the midline of the body) and one on the lateral side of each knee.

Ask Dr. Geier – Meniscus Tears

How do you tear the meniscus?

Typically an athlete or active individual tears a meniscus with a twisting injury. Younger athletes often suffer more significant injuries than do older adults. Often older athletes will note feeling pain after squatting to pick something up or another seemingly innocent maneuver. Occasionally older patients do not remember a specific injury at all.

Ask Dr. Geier – Meniscus tears in young athletes

How can I tell if my knee pain is caused by a meniscus tear or prior arthritis?

Note the fissuring and fraying of the articular cartilage lining on the end of the femur.

This distinction is critically important in treating meniscus tears in adults. Often degenerative meniscal tears occur with pre-existing arthritis changes of the knee. It is important for the surgeon to determine if the meniscus tear mostly causes the pain. Surgery for the meniscus tear is very successful for relieving these symptoms. On the other hand, we know from several studies done over the last decade that surgery to “clean up” arthritis changes has little long-term benefit.

It can be difficult, though, to determine the true source of knee pain in older athletes. Often meniscal pain is more focal and specifically located in a small area on the side and toward the back of the knee. Arthritis pain is often more diffuse, generalized discomfort. Also arthritis might improve somewhat with anti-inflammatory medications, braces, injections, and other nonoperative treatments. Pain from meniscus tears, however, often does not improve with anti-inflammatory medications or even cortisone or viscosupplementation injections.

Surgery to treat a meniscus tear in the setting of arthritis can still have benefit if the patient understands that there may be lingering pain related to the arthritis after full recovery from the meniscus tear. It is vitally important that patients discuss these possibilities with their surgeons.

The Dr. David Geier ShowMeniscus tears of the knee: In the Zone segment from Episode 33


Click here for full episodes or subscribe on iTunes.

Could the pain from a meniscus tear go away on its own?

We know from several studies looking at MRI findings in adults with no knee pain that a small percentage of the population has meniscus tears and doesn’t even know it. That finding suggests that some meniscus tears are not painful. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict whether a patient with a painful meniscus tear will get relief of that pain from ice, rest, anti-inflammatories, or physical therapy.

I think that nonoperative treatment is always a reasonable option. At some point, though, if a patient is not able to perform the activities that he or she would like, surgery can often relieve pain.

What does the surgery involve?

While some meniscus tears can be repaired (sewn back together), most require the inner, torn part of the meniscus to be removed. The surgeon uses small scissors and a shaver placed through small arthroscopic portals to perform this partial meniscectomy. Watch this video for a better understanding of what the surgeon does to treat these tears.

Does removing part of the meniscus lead to long-term problems later in life?

The meniscus acts as a shock absorber, so in theory, removing part of it would lead to more stress on the articular cartilage and bones. While there is no way to predict if patient will develop later arthritis or how quickly, it is a potential concern.

Trimming out a meniscus tear

The surgeon uses scissors to cut out the torn portion of the meniscus and leave a stable rim.

Despite this concern for long-term wear on the articular cartilage and subsequent arthritis, the inner torn fragment probably provides little protection to this cartilage either. Plus the pain is unlikely to improve without trimming that part out. Therefore patients often undergo surgery to relieve pain and get back to activities even if they could develop degenerative problems in later years or decades.

Why does it seem to take so long to recover from the surgery?

Ask Dr. Geier – Recovery from knee surgery

Despite the perception that the surgeon trims out the inner part of the tear and thus the source of the pain, the patient is not instantly better. It’s true that the majority of the pain disappears fairly quickly. But it takes time for the swelling of the knee to go down. It also takes time to regain full motion and strength. The surgeon typically allows the patient to resume activities fairly quickly. After all, the patient is unlikely to do more damage to the meniscus by walking on it and starting exercise programs. Unfortunately it can take several weeks or even months to actually be able to resume exercise, especially repetitive impact, and return to the pre-injury level. Overall it can take 4-5 months before the patient is as good as he or she will be after a partial meniscectomy.

Tips to ensure (hopefully) a successful outcome after surgery

Have you ever suffered a meniscus tear? Have you undergone surgery to treat this injury? Please share your experiences below! And let me know if this post and the video and audio were helpful to those of you with a meniscus tear!

193 Responses to Partial meniscectomy: Frequently asked questions

  1. Linda says:

    Just had a partial menisectomy June 28/2012. 45yr old female. Was running and playing hockey. Will return to hockey this fall. Can’t imagine running though. Some swelling remains, often hot to the touch. Biggest concern is loss of muscle tone and strength. Can’t sit on my heals without pain.

  2. Jean says:

    Had a partial menisectomy 3 weeks ago. Female and 56. No athlete but walks the dog every day and ballroom dances every week. Had 13 days of no pain, no soreness and by day 3/4 was walking up and down stairs fine. By day 14 something just ‘went’ as I was walking out of one room to another and now I can’t walk without keeping my leg straight. If I try and walk normally within two steps I get an excruciating pain in my knee that makes me feel sick and faint. Using a walking stick at the moment and walking with one straight leg which is causing calf tightening on my other leg. Managed to get an earlier appointment with the consultant for tomorrow – so disappointed.
    Anybody have an ideas – could a peice of cartilige have got lodged when they were trimming it ? Have a big holiday coming up in January and really wanted to be fit for it.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, I really cannot give you a specific answer to your question, as I haven’t seen you as a patient or examined you or seen any radiographic studies. I think the follow up appointment is a good idea. Hopefully they find that there is no further damage. Sorry I can’t help more!

      • Alan says:

        I to am 8 weeks into post opp for a partial lateral meniscectomy the pre injury pain is gone, however when I walk down slopes I get discomfort on the bottom outer edge of patella area, also my knee simply will not straighten out either. will this lead to having a MUA performed?

        • drdavidgeier says:

          Often the quads and other muscles of the lower extremity are weak after knee arthroscopy. The weakness can lead to patellofemoral pain. A physical therapist can usually help a patient regain full motion and strength of the knee after surgery.

          • Daniela says:

            Hello Dr David Geier, hope you are doing well. Just had a partial medial menistectomy. The pain in the medial side has disappeared. That worked very well. However I feel the same symptons described by Alan. Pain in the intersection patella-quadriceps. My doctor says it is common to develop patellar tendinites after arthroscopy when you begin to workout again (your quadriceps is weak). He said this tendinitis could disappear from 6-8 weeks. What is yr opinion? Tks! Daniela

          • drdavidgeier says:

            I can’t say in your case without examining you, so I would defer to your surgeon. People can develop symptoms if other parts of the knee or other body parts as they return to activities if they have altered mechanics, strength, motion, etc.

  3. Mandy says:

    I am 37 year old female. I am scheduled for a partial meniscectomy on October 28th. My question is how often do the doctors go in to do a partial and realize that is not an option? Can they tell from MRI before? I was told it was a badly torn transverse tear on inside if left knee. Just worried about how little meniscus may be left. I am very active and would like to remain active! Thank you for any help.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      In general, surgeons remove enough that the remaining meniscus is stable. How much needs to be removed is difficult to determine from an MRI but is determined based on the appearance seen during surgery.

    • Abdulkadir says:

      My sister had ACL serrugy recently, and she went through 7 months of physical therapy. She still struggles with knee pain from time to time, but usually her knees feel just fine. I think that the cold weather stiffens your muscles and joints, and due to your sensitive knee, it’ll tense up and hurt more. Try taking about 500mg of Advil, it should ease the pain.Don’t worry too much about your knee pain, it’s very common to have more pain after serrugy, my sister still has pain, and the pain will be difficult through life at times. But talk to your doctor if you want to know how you can relieve the pain more.I really hope this helped! I’ll pray for your knee!

  4. Ben says:

    I am a 20 year old male. I had partial meniscectomy about 7 weeks ago. My question is what kind of sports can I play when I’m fully recovered?

  5. Amy says:

    This is a useful and informative post, but I wanted to comment on the subject of recovery time.

    I had a partial menisectomy 4 years ago, about half of the medial meniscus was removed. I think that it’s inaccurate to say that 4-5 months represents a full recovery. This timescale might represent full recovery of the damaged tissue. But in terms of regaining the strength and muscle balance, and therefore the functional capacity, I believe takes a much longer time. From memory this was around 12 months.

    Bear in mind that I play a lot of sports and work as a physical trainer and yoga instructor, so have a high expectation. If the extent of your activity is dog walks then you may feel fully functional after a few months.

    I’m just writing to offer this perspective, as I remember being quite upset a few months post surgery when I still only felt 85% recovered. I recall my surgeon selling me the op by telling me I’d be fully fit in 6 months. But then how would he know? The last I saw of him was when he removed the stitches.

    It takes a lot of smart physical training or Pilates to bridge the gap between physio and full function. I’m glad I had the surgery. I worry about arthritis when I’m older, but a ragged meniscus is very limiting so it was worth it.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Thanks for your thoughts! The 4-5 month time that we expect a patient to reach maximum medical improvement is based on a rough average of patients. For some, it is faster than that. For some, it is slower. Also many factors play a role, such as activity level, amount of other damage found, and the activities to which the patient is trying to return. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      • Sean says:

        I’m an active 24 yr old male. I had my second partial meniscectomy on my right knee 3.5 months ago. The doctor more or less removed all of the white tissue meniscus that I had left. I’ve tried running on it at my PT’s suggestion but I’ve yet to be able to run without pain. I’m frustrated because i was under the impression that I’d be fully recovered after 6 weeks and my career depends on me being able to run.

        That said I’ve maintained a relatively high activity level since the surgery. I hike and lift and ride my bike but usually stop these activities when I feel pain. The pain is the most prevalent in the morning, when I get out of bed and then again if I happen to inflame it when using it. I need some perspective here. I’m frustrated and discouraged.

        • drdavidgeier says:

          I understand that is frustrating. I cannot give you much specific information since I was not involved in your surgery or in your care. Generally return to full sports and exercise at pre-injury levels takes 4-5 months after partial meniscectomy, in my experience, although there are many factors that influence the time needed. The more meniscus removed, the more stress on the bones and cartilage, so impact exercise can be difficult. Specifically what you can do would be a good question for you surgeon, though.

  6. Nick says:

    I had a partial meniscectomy along with cleaning a frayed ACL nearly 4 years ago. I was back to “playing form” within 8 weeks, playing competitive soccer again. I wasn’t 100% at that point, but I would say that I was 85-90%.

    However, as I write this, I am afraid I have injured my meniscus again. I have similar symptoms; swelling, knee tightness especially 1-3 days after exercise, and instability, especially with stairs.

    My question is what is the likelihood of having another tear in the same knee? If very possible, what would be the outlook on a second surgery?

    I am 33, very active, playing soccer competitively 2x a week 8 months out of the year. I also lift 4-5x a week. I would have a very hard time envisioning giving this up. Thanks.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t say specifically in your case, but athletes can retear a meniscus. The same mechanism that tore it the first time can do it again. In general, the more meniscus that is removed over time, the higher the risk for the development of degenerative changes of the joint down the road. But if the pain from the meniscus is great enough that the athlete can’t play or perform exercise or daily activities, surgery is often still advised.

      • Dhinesh says:

        Im 28 male. I had undergone ACL reconstruction 4 years back and Im remaining comfortable after the surgery and Im able to jog, squat etc. But Im concerned about the partial removal of the meniscus which was badly damaged. Whats the chance of my knee developing arthritis ? What kind of activities should I avoid if I want to prevent developing arthritis.

        • drdavidgeier says:

          It is impossible to quote statistics on how likely patients are to develop arthritis after partial meniscectomy. Many factors, such as age, activity level, and the amount of meniscus removed, play a role. There is no right answer on what patients are allowed to do, but if there is concern for arthritis, we often have patients cut back on repetitive impact activity like jogging.

  7. San says:

    I’m San, 43 year old, live and work in the UK.
    I suffered a large bucket handle lateral meniscus tear and had a partial menisectomy on 19th September 2012.
    (I had a freak accident at home, bent down, lost my footing, twisted my right knee and hey presto, heard a popping and grinding noise and then promptly passed out with the pain)
    My MRI revealed that I had a baker’s cyst and osteoarthritis (stage 2?)
    My recovery is going slowly. My walking gait is not 100%, I waddle, my GP examined my knee and as she bent it, it creaked!
    There is still not full flexion and at time’s, my knee lock’s
    I am walking daily, and have not ran or done anything too strenuous on it.
    Can anybody who has had a similar injury, please comment on how long their recovery took?
    Finally, not wishing to be dispondent, but can us lady’s ever wear high heel’s again?
    Whilst you may think it silly, as one’s health is far more important than fashion, I’ve been told that I will not be able to wear anything more than 1 inch in height.
    I am taking holistic remedies to deal with my osteoarthritis and have taken to drinking a ginger and turmeric infusion, green tea, and also take Omega 3 tablets.
    Any other suggestions, advice or comments would be much appreciated.
    I am waiting to be seen by an expert in the field, but in the meantime, if there are any exper’s out there who coule enlighten me on the way forward, it would be gratefully received and welcomed!
    Kind regards,

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Since I have shared my thoughts on recovery from meniscus surgeries and the effects of arthritis changes on success of partial meniscectomy (in this post and others on the blog), I will allow those readers who have undergone meniscus surgery to share their thoughts. Thanks for sharing your situation and question!

  8. KC says:

    I stepped off of an embankment and landed hard on one foot and fell forward on blacktop on my knee and damage my meniscus. One year later MRI results were tranverse tear on medial meniscus , possible 1cm defect on weight bearing part of the medial side of the femur cartilage( articular cartilage) A partial tore mcl that has healed back . And a baker’s cyst that has given me some trouble. Surgeon suggests a partial meniscectomy and a possible oats procedure to repair defect if that is what it is. I am 47 year old male. I have some mild pain but not all the time. Knee is stiff sometimes in the am and some mornings I limp some until knee is loosen up. I have full motion of knee. I sometimes get a very painful knee jerk pain when going down steps or when stepping to the side, but not when running. Even with full motion of the knee.. What would be the advantage to removing the tore section of the meniscus ? Would it help slow progession of arthritis if the damage section was remove? Improve the baker’s cyst which has swollen my lower leg sometimes.

  9. PAUL G NYC says:

    I have partial medial meniscetomy on 12/4/12 and yesterday was 4 week since. I am 43 in pretty good shape. I tore it in July 2012 and went to PT but it was aggravating me so I opted for surgery. I just started feeling better at 3 weeks post op but is still swollen and stiff at 4 weeks. I cannot run, I can do limited stationary bike, and some eliptical. This is much tougher than I thought it was going to be the gains made are so little. I figured by a few weeks I would be back to normal. The DR says it takes time. I see why this can be frustrating.

    • PAUL G NYC says:

      I wanted to ad no arthritis was found and the surgery was successful.

      • drdavidgeier says:

        Thanks for sharing your experience!

        • PAUL G says:

          2 and a half months post op the knee feels better but still hurts and is swollen after spin class, elliptical, running around with my son, the symptoms are becoming less and less. I guess in my case its going to take 4-6 months. Please keep in mind every operation and everyones recovery are different. Some recover faster others it takes 6 months or longer depending on many factors. You cannot expect to be exercising 2 weeks after this.

          • drdavidgeier says:

            Great points Paul! I usually advise people to start with non-impact activities like elliptical or stationary bike and progress to jogging and other impact exercise as they can tolerate it. Thanks for sharing your experience!

          • PAUL G says:

            Almost 3 1/2 months post partial meniscectomy, the knee feels ok most of the time but after spin class, elliptical, or walking for a while its sore afterwards. I am still building my quads up with weights. I do not know if this will always be like this or it will go away in time. Not completely happy with the results I thought this would heal and I could pretty much do what I wanted to. I had the operation at HSS in NYC supposedly one of the best places.

  10. Susan Walen says:

    72 year old, pretty active woman. Sudden immobilizing pain in right knee (had hip replacement on right sev’l years ago). MRI showed multiple tears, the worst being oblique tear to the posterior horn and body of medial meniscus, involving inner, middle and peripheral thirds of the meniscus. Also large septated, dissecting Baker’s cyst. Advanced patellofemoral chondromalacia. marked cartilage loss with areas of exposed bone and subchondral bone marrow signal changes in apex of patella. So I had my meniscotomy on Nov. 11, 2012.

    It’s now almost two months post surgery. Thought it was getting a little better and was doing PT, but then had big set-back, and can now hardly walk for 1/2 a city block. Doctor says he doesn’t know why, but he has removed fluid by syringe and injected a large and then a small amount of cortisone. While flexibility is good, pain is always there, sometimes very intense. Dr. said to abandon PT.

    I have developed a “pop” down my leg, like a tendon popping up over a bone. This happens when I get into certain positions, and I can repeat the “pop”. I can’t tell if it originates in my operated hip or the knee, but I’m worried about it.

    I’m thinking of taking my noises and worries to another doctor and/or to a private PT person. I wonder if you have any thoughts on the symptom, the ongoing sharp lower leg pain, and the value of PT at this point.

    Many thanks.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with meniscus surgery. I can’t really give you much insight into the issues you are having. Popping in the knee in the months after surgery can have many causes, including grinding of the rough cartilage surfaces (if arthritis is present), swelling that causes parts of the joint to come in contact when they don’t without the presence of swelling, debris catching in the knee, a small area of meniscus still torn, and much more.

  11. Prees says:

    51 year old females, I had MCL injury,ACL reconstruction in 4/2011, due to fall on slopes, recovery time for that was 7 1/2 months, was back playing tennis by January 2012 then in 4/2012 stepped to the side on court and there went my lateral meniscus, red zone tear pretty much shredded, looked like crab meat, lol..I opted for repair as much as I hated to hear recovery time and crutch time…crutches 6 weeks, only instructed to flex foot..I heard it was crucial to not bear any weight on knee during the crutch time so I did exactly that…got back on court by September…right knee doing great! Then in October 2012 had slight ache in good knee (left), thought better safe than sorry had MRI 12/2012, it was ok showed normal arthritis for my age, then when walking to car in beginning of Janary I started limping which lead to could not bear weight nor do stairs, had 2nd MRI, had partial medial menisectomy last Tuesday… I am thinking that one injury leads to an equal balancing act, Doc do you see this frequently? I am hoping this is it for the knees… I am on day 5 post surgery, went for 20 minute walk, can do stairs normal but taking it slow…I have been trying to lose the weight from the first two surgeries, every time I make progress seems something else goes, I need some reassurance there is light at the end of this knee tunnel I seem to be in…

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I cannot say specifically in your case, but I have seen patients who had meniscus surgery on one knee and within 1-3 years ended up having the injury and surgery on the opposite knee. It is always hard to know if some imbalance or increased use of one knee while the other is hurt led to the other knee becoming injured, or if the injuries are unrelated. Meniscus injuries are common injuries in general. Regardless, thanks for sharing your experiences!

  12. Karen Novotny says:

    Hi, I am a 45-year old female who had problems with pain upon squatting and with deep knee bends in the inner portion of my left knee. This went on for about 6 months, but I could walk normally and get around without pain unless I needed to squat. I had an MRI that revealed a degenerative tear. I followed up with a surgeon who suggested surgery to remove it. I then proceeded to get 3 more opinions from 3 more doctors. The 2nd doctor said I was in a “gray” area and he said for me to wait and see if it would heal. The 3rd doctor wanted to do a round of anti-inflammatories and for me to follow up with him in 3 weeks. The 4th doctor (who I saw on the same day as the 3rd doctor) suggested surgery and by that time I was so sick of my indecision, I opted for the surgery and went with the last surgeon to preform the partial meniscectomy . After surgery I was told not to bear weight on it until my follow-up appointment which was six days later. I developed a blood clot my left calf 4 days after surgery. I am now on Warfarin for the blood clot and have circulation issues in my lower left leg which I am praying will resolve in time. It has been a little over six weeks since my surgery and I have the symptoms of a baker’s cyst and there is pain now while I walk (if there is a little bit of twisting action going on). I am worried that I should have never gotten the surgery because I could have lived without squatting, but the idea of now having pain while walking is making me regret my decision. I am hoping that this will heal in time. I would appreciate any thoughts. Thank you!

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Karen, thanks for sharing your experiences. I can’t give you any specific answers or advice. I will say that Coumadin (Warfarin) does help to break up blood clots, but patients often need to take it for 3-6 months. Also it often takes patients many months to fully recover from partial meniscectomy and return to exercise and sports.

  13. Tjitte Storm says:

    I’m Tjitte Storm from the Netherlands and I recently had a partial medial menisectomy. Ca. 25% was removed on January 30th 2013, and they shaved my cartilage (2e degree Arthrosis) It was my left knee.
    Now hardly 2 weeks ago I can walk without too much pain.

    I was in good shape, liked grappling BJJ and some weightlifting for that sport. (No bodybuilding/powerlifting)

    There’s something that bothers me; when I’m standing I can lift my left knee without pain; I can bend it to 90 degrees zero problems………

    but…. when I lie on my back and raise my left leg up without bending (my toes pointing to the ceiling), and I trie to lower my foot down(bending the knee),
    It’s very painfull and the pain seems to be under the patella.

    I know it’s hardly two weeks after surgery but still I’m wondering if this is normal.
    I don’t think I’ve done too much; only walking (without too much pain) ,and I’ve taken my rest.

    Hope you can answer my question.

    Best Regards,

    Tjitte Storm

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Thanks for the question. It is hard to say in your case, but I often see pain in the area around the patella or under it early after many knee surgeries. Often the knee swelling causes weakness of the quads, and stress concentrates in the patellofemoral region. usually as swelling decreases and strength improves, these symptoms do as well. Since I don’t know if that is the case with you, and can’t say specifically, I would ask the surgeon about it. Thanks again!

      • Tjitte Storm says:

        I appreciate your quick reply,

        Now 7 weeks later I still can’t do 1 singel squat or 1 leg extension (without weight) because of the pain;

        The nurse advised me to train the quads with painkillers?!? but even with painkillers I can’t do this exercises because of the pain, so I stopped immediately.
        It’s not just irritation but real pain.

        The pain is right under the patella. Normal walking and cycling doesn’t give me problems.

        Things are getting frustrating right now cause when I can’t train my quadriceps I quess I shouldn’t train my Hamstrings too much cause of the disbalance in muscle strength. The legs are getting thinner and thinner.

        The knee is still swollen.

        Are these complications normal ater 7 weeks by a healthy man?! or is it just me being impatient

        I have read the post operation report and overall it was very positive. Maybe they forgot to remove the camera?!

        Best regards,

        Tjitte Storm

  14. Fagan says:

    I had a menisectomy done about ten years ago,i am now 34.Very active lifestyle play sports etc.! month ago i hurt my knee at work and after much xrayss,ultrasounds and eventually a mri,i was diagnosed with another tear in the same knee.I am now 1 week post surgery and im still struggling with swelling and pian.10 years ago i ws up an running within a week.Age i guess.My question is that my Dr indicated to me that he can see i had surgery done previuosly and that he can see arthritic changes in my knee.My questions is this,how much mensici di i have left and how quickly am i going to get artritis problems?Would it not make sense to replace my knee to prevent future suffering if the evidance have alreacy presented itself?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Only your surgeon can tell you how much meniscus you have left. In general, there is concern of future arthritis after surgery to remove part of the meniscus. But orthopaedic surgeons try to delay joint replacement as long as possible. Those prostheses wear out over time too, and revising them when they break down becomes an enormous operation. We try to hold off until the patient cannot perform any activities of daily living because of pain. That becomes a complex discussion between the patient and surgeon.

  15. Rohan says:

    Had a partial meniscectomy March 2012, male now 49, never been an athlete, active employment, enjoyed long brisk walks to maintain weight, rock fishing and walking though hills hunting. Now a broken man who hobbles around like a WWII veteran that got shot in the leg, If I’m lucky I get an hour or two pain free in the mornings straight out of bed, then it sets in, feels like it did pre surgery, pain on the inner side of the knee. Anti-inflammatory meds don’t help, can;t take narcotic meds due to employtment, can’t imagine ever doing what I used to do, have amassed so much weight due to inactivity which of course doesn’t help the knee any. So depressing. I dread every day , don’t know how long I can maintain my great job.

  16. Rebecca says:

    Im studying the more advanced tequniques of massage. Meniscectomy is one of the areas im covering in my lastest assessment. Question being, What would be my considerations as a massage therapist if one of my Clients had this procedure? Have any of you seeked treatment via massage after this procedure to help relieve pain & was it effective? :)

  17. Patrick Cummings says:

    Ten years post left partial meniscetomy (medial). Now, pain is located in that area – walking produces pain about 1/2 the time – and knee often feels… wobbly.
    Thanks for the response, Dr Geier

  18. Candace Rile says:

    I am a 68 year old female who is very active. I do pilates, yoga, weight training, and participate as an amateur in competitive ballroom dancing. I was practicing a turn and caught my toe on an uneven floor surface. A couple of days later, I began experiencing pain and instability at a very specific point on my inner right knee. Each day the problem increased. I went to an orthopedic surgeon. It was determined I have a meniscus tear and because I want to participate in a ballroom competition in 11 weeks, I am having meniscus repair surgery in a few days. My question is how soon can i begin practicing dancing (I will be doing other rehab for strengthening the quadriceps, and hamstring)? Also, is it realistic to think that I can return to my former strength so I can perform at the level I was before the injury? (And can I participate in the competition in 11 weeks?)

    • drdavidgeier says:

      The goal with any patient undergoing a meniscus surgery is to try to get the patient back to the activities that he or she wants to do. There are many variables – repair vs partial meniscectomy, presence of arthritis, and more. How long a patient will be out depends largely on what procedure is done. When a patient is allowed to return to certain activities is a decision that can really only be made by the surgeon involved. I hope that helps!

  19. Anomynous says:

    Hello! just recently came about this site, and really enjoy reading some of the answers. Im here to tell my story– back in late october of 2012 i tore my medial meniscus. I had a bucket handle tear, which caused my knee to lock up and well.. you know how that went. I was scheduled for a partial meniscectomy on november 26, 2012. I used crutches for that day, but the very next day i was up and walking and although it was sore, i rarely had pain. i followed up with PT for the next months to come, and was released to do some light jogging and soccer drills around 3 weeks post op. I ganied full ROM around 4 1/2 weeks to 5, but i did notice that i was experiencing most pain behind the knee then in the medial side. I did fairly well, and was even able to keep up with the local varsity teams at practice. finally at 6 weeks post op, i could kick a ball again fairly similar to how i used to before. but it wasn’t until 8 and 1/2 post op when i was released to play. I did well, no problems just again, the back of my knee was always very sore after activities, like soccer, running, and jumping. although i caught up with the ROM of my left knee, i still had a lot of pain in the back of my knee when i bent it. now, 4 months post op i still have the same pain in back of my knee sort of in the upper calf and thigh. doctors have told me that this is caused by tight hamstrings and calves but i stretch reguluarly, ice, and rest but still no pain in behind my knee. does anyone know what this could be from? i had the same exact pain even BEFORE my meniscectomy.

  20. Anomynous says:

    I also forgot to mention, i am 17 years old, very active, and will undergo another surgery for a horizontal cleavage tear spanning from the posterior horn and anterior horn of my medial meniscus sometime in april. what procedure is usually performed for this type of tear? partial meniscectomy or repair?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Horizontal cleavage tears most often require a partial meniscectomy.

    • art says:

      Hi! How are you feeling now? Have the exact symptoms. Two menisectomies in the last 18 months. I am one month after the second one and the pain/soreness behind the knee reappeared

  21. Mark says:

    I had my partial removal 10 days ago, I am 47 and overweight but pleased that I’m walking pretty normally .
    Still feel some pain and clicking in knee area and there is a swelling on the knee still- as my job involves quite a bit of lifting and standing all day i will need another two weeks off to continue ice and rest along with some knee exercise.

    When can I expect all fluid and swelling to be gone?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      For most patients undergoing a partial meniscectomy, the swelling resolves within two to six weeks.

      • Mark says:

        Thank you – will I be ok to return to work 25 days after op – job involves heavy lifting and standing all day ?

  22. ValerieCH says:

    I am a healthy and active 41 year old woman. I twisted my knee doing jumping exercises with my 5 years old daughter (what was I thinking!!) . Anyways, after the twist I started limping and having difficulties going up and down the stairs. The following days I just work out on my elliptical assuming would be OK since it is low impact on the knees and my pain was not severe. After approx. 5 days I woke up one morning with a super swollen knee and inability to fully straighten it. Went to an ortho who ordered MRI. The MRI showed a mild chondromalacia (?) and a longitudinal oblique meniscus tear on the lateral side. Problem is I don’t feel pain to the touch anywhere only when i put all my weight but is not where the tear is…my pain is in the inner side of the knee ..and is sharp and just seconds..feels like bone to bone, not sure how to describe it. A 2nd ortho told me he thinks my knee problem is being caused by the chondromalacia …Went to a 3dr doctor who told me “it is unusual that with a meniscus tear you don’t feel pain when i press on your knee (all over) but we need to do an arthroscopy to see what is blocking the mechanism and causing the knee lock”. Should I go for the arthroscopy even though no pain? or should I just wait and see if it unlocks by itself when all the swell is gone ? My ROM is not too bad but limited and knee feels stiff …the worse is not being able to straighten the leg and walk normal. Its been 6 weeks and now my back and other leg/knee is taking a toll I am resting as much as I can…surgery is tentatively scheduled in 3 weeks….should I go for it? or should I try something more conservative first i.e. cortisone shots..? What would you recommend considering no pain when the area where the tear is located is not painful….

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I’m sorry, but I cannot give you advice about what you should do specifically. I would take the information from this post and the others on this blog about meniscal tears and surgery as well as the comments for more information generally on these injuries. Then discuss it with your surgeon.

  23. Rick says:

    I am a 53 year-old male living in England, and have always been active. Last summer, I was a competing runner/cyclist, and had and damaged my left knee narrowly avoiding a cyclist speeding around a bend on a footpath, whilst I was running. As a result, I suffered a severe strain of my medial ligament, and after two months of physical therapy did not fully fix my knee, I was assessed by a surgeon who diagnosed a tear of my medial meniscus. I had an arthroscopic resection three months later, or five months after the accident. During that intervening time, I could not run a step without severe pain, struggled to walk, and nor could I walk up an down stairs properly. In short, I went from being a super-fit runner/cyclist to someone bordering on lame and really limited in what I could do. I could use our indoor rower, swim and cycle, but nothing really intense. I went from six to eight hours of exercise a week to barely two.

    Following the operation in early January, the surgeon found a parrot-beak tear and removed about 20% of my meniscus. He also found some very early grade 1 arthritis on my tibia, but said that this was nothing unusual and that my knee was in very good condition for my age and sporting history.

    When I asked if I could run again, he said it depended on whether I would be able to (I saw him just days after surgery), and what I wanted to do. In simple terms, he conservatively advised against any more half marathons/10Ks/cross-country races and regular road running, but encouraged jogging a few times a week on soft ground for the benefits of running. He also recommend exercise like cycling and rowing. But if running was my only passion, then I could do so if my knee allowed, but I should consider the risks. The main risk was accelerated arthritis.

    After six weeks of rehab, I tried a two mile run and it felt terrible. My knee swelled and hurt for days afterwards, so I gave up that idea for a while. However, I did a lot of weight training under guidance, increasingly used our indoor rower, cycled using a bike training to get those vital numbers for mapping progress, and quite a bit of swimming. In terms of strength training, I have really worked on my quads and hamstrings using dumb-bells and a new weights bench at home, and worked on flexibility. But it takes a lot of discipline to do all this.

    Yesterday, I jogged for thirty minutes on soft trails and it felt really good. I feel fine today. But I won’t run again for a couple of days at least. Other than that, I am now doing about 45 minutes of mixed exercise most days of the week.

    Before my operation, I did masses of research, and talked to as many people as I could about recovery and their experiences. I found this website invaluable. I also let health professionals assess me, and followed their advice to the letter. In short, I take it as given that they know far more than I do, and have seen much more. Moreover, there is no substitute for actual assessments by health professionals.

    Other than these important lessons, I have also learnt that all of us are different, we will all respond differently to treatment, and as for the future, all bets are off. I have noticed some common patterns in experiences, though. Firstly, I think we have to accept that we have to make adjustments to our lifestyles following surgery. Secondly, anyone wanting to resume serious load-bearing sports might be able to do so, but there are significant risks. I was told this, and my surgeon said that I could probably have a good few more years of serious road running, but could get serious bone-on-bone arthritis within five to ten years. He added that our hospital would not be very pleased if that happened, as it is largely avoidable.

    So I have stopped competitive running, and plan to do varied sports recreationally to keep fit and strong for as long as I can. This is easier for me, though, after more than three decades of competing – if I were younger, I would find it much harder to adapt. But I have met those who do – I know a cyclist in his 30s who switched from soccer, for example, after three meniscus operations in his early 20s.

    Lastly, I would like to thank Dr Geier and everybody else who has shared their experiences – it has made a massive difference for me.

  24. Dorothy says:

    Hi. I was wondering if you could comment on stem cell therapy in lieu of or in addition to a partial meniscectomy? I am a 49 year old, reasonably fit, female who has a medial tear, and some evidence of arthritis on MRI, but no prior arthritic symptoms. I injured my meniscus while working out. My surgeon says he needs to remove 30-40% of the meniscus.
    I have been trying to research stem cell companies such as Regenxx, etc.. Thank you in advance for your insight.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      There is little data on stem cell treatments for meniscal tears. While we hope that stem cell treatments one day can return damaged articular cartilage or meniscal tissue to normal after damage, there isn’t much data to show that it is definitively effective at this point.

  25. Kollin says:

    I had a partial minisectomy in my left knee about two weeks ago and noticed that when I turn quickly once in a while it feels like it gives out quickly. I’m 17 and have had both a meniscus repair and minisectomy in my right knee already. The minisectomy in the right knee felt great immediately. The one in the left knee seems to not feel right. Any ideas as to what this may be? Is it just not done healing fully yet?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Kollin, I really cannot give you a specific answer to your question, as I a, not involved in your care. Often swelling in the knee after knee arthroscopy can give patients the subjective sensation of instability. Measures to decrease swelling and working hard on their own of with physical therapists can help overcome those feelings.

  26. Adam says:


    Hoping to get your professional opinion on my partial meniscectomy. I underwent the procedure mid 2009. I was teaching in Korea at the time, so communication was an issue, as was time off for physiotherapy.

    It took me a long time to get back to regular activities, but to this day, after playing a more demanding sport such as basketball or squash, my knee will swell for a day or two.

    Is this normal? I do my best to apply the RICE acronym after playing sports, but m somewhat worried that perhaps the surgery didn’t go well. I’ve also had strange locking at times when walking, thipough after recently losing about 20 lbs, that has stopped, possibly coincidentally.

    Your response would be much appreciated, and thanks for the info!

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I really cannot say without examining you. Generally the RICE treatments are helpful after joint swelling for any reason. If a patient has mechanical symptoms of the knee, such as locking, catching or giving way, it is usually a good idea to see his surgeon and see if there is a worrisome problem causing them.

  27. Sean Dwyer says:

    Dr. Geier,

    I’m 33, very active, and 4 months into recovering from my second meniscectomy on my left knee (sports injury). My pro rehab was virtually nil. I’ve been spinning, walking, and doing light activity, but still have stiffness daily.

    My question is, is it too soon to return to body weight resistance training, like body squats, lunges, etc., that typically stress the knee joint? I’ve trained over 10 years and use proper techniques.

    Also, when would be a good time to start adding more weight, such as barbell squats and weighted lunges?

    I’m concerned it’s too soon, mostly due to the daily stiffness and, occasional, mild throbbing that follows after light leg workouts (no swelling thankfully).


    • drdavidgeier says:

      That is a complicated answer, and you would probably get many different opinions from different sports medicine doctors. If patients are still experiencing symptoms after a knee surgery, I often slow them down if it is simply a problem of doing too much too soon. I also examine them to determine if there is a structural cause for the swelling, pain or other symptoms. Also generally I don’t mind squats and leg presses early in a rehab because the feet are fixed to the floor. The quads and hamstrings can both fire to protect the knee. I usually have patients drop the weight down and focus on higher reps, and I usually have them stay above 90 degrees of flexion. If those exercises are safe in your case really can only be determined by your surgeon. Hope that helps!

  28. Nicole says:

    Hi! I’m a 36 year old female who underwent a partial medial meniscectomy on July 9, 2012 with bone shaving. it’s now almost been a year, and I’m still having pain, swelling ( after activities) and still can’t bend my knee all the way. I was thinking of going back to see my ortho, but am curious if this may be normal and should give it more time to heal? I miss the free range movement I had and was hoping this was going to be better much quickly then it has.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I think that anyone who cannot do the activities that she wants to do as well as she wants should see her doctor or sports medicine surgeon and try to determine a cause and outline a treatment plan. That’s probably a good rule of thumb for any injury and not just after surgery.

  29. jay jimenez says:

    drdavidgeier my name is jay jimenez i am currently in the army. the back of my knee is stiff and the lateral menicus is swollen after running or doing squats. it gets annoying taking meds and iceing everyday just to be able to run or play sports.

  30. Fardowza says:

    Hi am 37 years old female who underwent a partial medial meniscectomy on March 27/2013. they said:” Degenerative changes, medial compartment. Grade II to III on the femoral side. Grade II on the tibial side. Medial meniscus found intact”. what this mean? they sent me physiotherapy and I am doing exercises but I can raise my leg up and I am lambing when I am walking feeling pain. before the surgery I was feeling great pain when I was walking nothing alse. now my knee is worse then before.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t give you any advice or specific information on what your surgery entailed. Grades 1-4 changes are descriptive terms used to described the degree of articular cartilage breakdown – essentially ways to grade the severity of the arthritis.

  31. Josh says:

    I am a 33 year old male and stay active lifting weights 5 days a week. I had a partial lateral meniscectomy just over four weeks ago. My doctor was able to save about 50% of the meniscus, which is great because I was worried that they might have to remove the entire thing. I have had knee pain and my knee would lock on me whenever I put pressure on the lateral side of my lower leg. I am hoping that this solves the locking issue since it has prevented me from doing a lot of lifts and exercises.

    I still have some swelling but over all the pain in the knee is gone. I am able to walk and go up stairs with no problems. The issue that I am having is a numb feeling on the lateral/lateral anterior side of my calf from the knee to the ankle. This is a sensation that I did have once in awhile before the surgery. But now I have a sharp pain in this area if the leg is rubbed a certain way. Do you believe this could be nerve damage from the knee injury? (I was having knee issues for about ten years before getting it repaired). I was also thinking that it might be a result from the swelling pushing down on the nerve or even a slight case of sciatica.

    Loving all the information on this page. Very informative. Thank You.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Josh, without being involved, I’m not sure I can tell you what is causing your symptoms. I would address it with your surgeon at your next visit. Numbness usually results from some sort of nerve issue, although at least in my experience, I haven’t seen nerve injuries from a routine knee arthroscopy. Certainly other causes of swelling, pain, and numbness – like some of the ones you mention – could be present and are worth having a surgeon look into. Wish I could give you more specific information! Thanks for the comments on the site!

  32. Barbara says:

    I hope this helps someone because I had to learn the hard way. I had my first meniscus tear surgery about 15 years ago. I have had 3 surgeries – 2 on my right knee and 1 on my left knee. I was walking up and down hills, going to classes, thinking it was great exercise at the age of 47. I wanted to get my degree so I had gone back to college. I did everything the doctor told me to do but I still had to have more surgery. My internal doctor told me one day when I complained to him that it takes “2″ years for any surgery to be “really” better. This calmed me down. Surgery #3 didn’t want to get well. I thought the doctor was beginning to think I just wanted more pain pills some doctors do. Finally after trips back and forth, swelling and pain my surgeon called in a back doctor. This doctor had me bend over the table as he injected needles into some small muscles around the top of my waist. This broke up the muscles that was causing the pain in my knee. Just like that – I walked out of his office pain free from my knee. I was told if my right knee ever gave me more trouble I would probably have to have a complete knee surgery. Now, here it is 2013. My left knee is giving me the same problems as before. I have really tried to protect both of my knees since surgery. I walk up stairs but I ride the elevator down. I watch the heels of my shoes and the time I spend in them. I can’t squat or bend my knee at all because the pain is horrible. It is swollen all around my knee cap. I had back surgery 3 years ago and my hip is feeling like some blunt object is drilling itself a hole. All of this is on my left side. Find a good surgeon, get 2nd opinion, buy up some foods that can be put in the microwave, get some good movies, find a loyal friend and pray. It doesn’t go away when it starts unless you believe that God can heal it. That’s always possible. Good Luck and God Bless you, Barbara

  33. alice says:

    Had pmm one month ago. Within 10 days had zero pain and almost complete range of motion. About a week later started to feel a little pain again and one month later am limping, in pain….throbbing burning spasming pain. So disappointed and hoping this is a normal temporary setback. Icing and rest have not seemed to help. Please tell me this normally can happen and is not my future life. I cannot even walk a block…..

  34. Kate Watts says:

    I had 40% meniscus removal on May 14, 2013. Today is 15 days out from surgery. I am back at work. Standing all day (work in automotive industry). Weight train (4 days per week) and run (three days per week). I have already begun my lower body workouts with lighter weight than I am used to using. Knee is still swelling at the end of the day……I just push through this as I am determined to get my muscle back that I lost due to the injury 6 weeks ago. Never stopped the upper body workouts. I feel like I am doing very well. Turns out I have a “discoid meniscus” so even though he removed 40%…..I am still left with almost a normal sized meniscus.

  35. Connie says:

    Hello – I had lateral meniscus surgery 2 months ago and all was great until I was hanging a picture on the wall and stepped off the stool about 2 feet off the floor on my post op leg. I felt the pain extend from one end of my leg to the other. My knee feels swollen now and I do apply ice and take anti-inflammatory meds. What are the changes that I have re-injured my knee?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      It’s is hard for me to say in your case. Typically we look for localized pain along the joint line and new onset of locking or catching. If symptoms such as these persist, we might order an MRI to see if a patient has retorn the meniscus.

  36. Mazhar says:

    Hi David,

    I had a Sports injury 2 years back, which cost me grade 2 meniscus tear,
    I have been following up with several doctors since then, have been habituated to knee braces now. i feel pain while walking & certain leg movements.
    I have prepared myself for Arthoscopy but most of the doctors denying need of surgery,
    However now its 2 years & i am still leaving with the pain.

    I have done several sessions of IFT, ultra-sound phsio.
    Medciations like Collafex( collagen powder).

    if it has to heal itself ,then it should hv healed by now.,
    What should be my next step of treatment

  37. Kate Watts says:

    Just checking in again. Three weeks post partial meniscectomy and ran three miles yesterday. Started out a little painful, but I pushed through it. My last mile was virtually painless. Woke up to a much less swollen knee too. Still doing great!!!

  38. Ryan says:

    Hello Dr. Geier!

    I am a 20 year old male, very active and involved with sports and exercise. I have scoured the internet trying to find an answer to my questions but have not come across any stories of similar symptoms and background. Basically, in March of this year, while playing basketball; I felt my knee twist and knew something was wrong. I went to the emergency room after a few days hoping that the pain would just go away, but it didn’t. Went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with an LCL sprain. Under this diagnosis I assumed my athletic performance would return soon. And for the first two months I slowly regained ability.

    But progress has halted..I would say at 85% functionality. A majority of people mention “knee locking” and “clicking” or “pain walking” but I experience none of these. I walk as if I had no injury and ride my bike (several miles a day) without pain. The only time I feel pain or limitations is when I exert the knee in an intense athletic movement, such as change of direction on a tennis baseline or full power jump in basketball. I am not the same athlete as I was. I cannot dunk and I cannot accelerate as fast, but the pain is manageable as long as I do not try to force myself through the pain.

    So, because progress was stopped, I got an MRI revealing what the orthopedic surgeon believes is a radial tear in the lateral meniscus. Additionally there is a small cyst from leaked fluid.

    My concern is that with the surgery I will be hampered later on athletically. Thus my main questions are these:

    - Is surgery a better option in my case? I can do all non-athletic things 100% and there is no locking or clicking in theknee. But am not at 100% when playing sports.
    - Does a partial meniscectomy enable an athlete to return prior form?
    - What are the future implications of leaving a torn lateral meniscus intact? As in not removing any of the cartilage.

    Thank you for your time Dr. Geier! I know you’re a busy man from your extensive information around the website. All the best and thanks for any help/answers/clarification you can provide!

    - Ryan

    P.S I am taking my MCAT in one week (June 20), and currently I hope to go into pediatrics. Your entire system of providing health information thoughtfully and consistently is a model I hope to achieve someday! You are awesome!

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Ryan, thanks so much for the kind words! I cannot give you specific medical advice, but I can comment generally about meniscal tears. The concerns with leaving a meniscus tear in the knee without surgery is that it could propagate and require more being removed later. Also most people just don’t get much better without surgery. Generally athletic people do return to sports and exercise after a partial meniscectomy. I hope that helps! Good luck on the MCAT!

      • Ryan says:

        Yes, it absolutely does! I really appreciate your insight :) I hope to later comment on how I have progressed, as it may help or give more clarification to their situation! Thanks again Dr. Geier…now back to MCAT study..

  39. Matt Thorpe says:

    Hey I recently had an lcl lateral corner reconstruction and acl,, with this came with a huge hole in the meniscus which made sure I couldn’t walk at all.. Had an menisceptomy it’s ok I can walk 6weeks on after being on crutches non weight bearing for 6weeks basically just wondered

    In the meniscus area it’s still real sensitive and sometimes get a pain there.. My OS said he has tried to recreate and fill the hole so basically it’s a new part of cartilage, should I be worried that its still super sensitive and has odd pain with the odd clicking? Just worried cause I wanna play soccer again.. Hoping that this is normal

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Sorry Matt, you need to ask your surgeon. I can’t know the answer without being involved, doing your surgery, and/or examining your knee.

  40. Matt Thorpe says:

    Sorry when I mean sensitive it’s like a slight burning sensation to, sensitive to being touched to.. 6n half weeks post surgery

  41. Maxine Rooney says:

    Hi I’m a 39 yr old fit and healthy female from the UK
    I had a medial menisectomy and pfj chondroplasty exactly 7 days ago. I am following the rehab programme given by my physiotherapist. I was full weight bearing immediately post op with little pain.
    However a week in I am only able to tolerate an hour walking/standing on my leg without considerable pain and swelling. Is this normal? I am a nurse and due back at work next Friday and my. Job involves 8 hours on my feet. I am also very sporty but my main concern is being able to do my job at the minute…. Many thanks

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I would address your concerns with your surgeon and get his or her opinion. But in general, swelling, pain, stiffness and weakness can be present for weeks after knee arthroscopy. Most often it isn’t a sign of anything bad, but patients should work to get back to normal as quickly as possible.

  42. Jennifer says:

    40yo female athlete. I had a partial lateral meniscectomy and lateral patella chondroplasty 6 days ago. The origination of the pain was behind my knee (lateral) and this pain is far worse post surgery than it was pre-surgery. I am still on crutches and if I go without crutches have a significant limp. Does this pain behind the knee make sense as part of the recovery from this procedure? Thanks in advance….

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t honestly say without being involved. It is not uncommon to have pain after surgery from swelling, stiffness, the work done inside the knee and more. I would talk to your surgeon about it and make sure that everything is normal.

  43. Jacqui says:

    I 45 obese not fit but I was walking every day. After a fall while climbing over a fence I was unable to put any weight on my leg without it giving way. It took 4 months to get into surgery during which time I was on crutches. I have now had a partial meniscectomy and had the tears in my medial, lateral and ACL ligaments trimmed. After 6 weeks I am finally off crutches and walking with a limp. My hamstrings and calf are very tight and I am trying to stretch out. The lateral side of the knee is numb and swollen and below my kneecap feels tight and painful. I seem to be very slow in recovering even though do all the exercises and ride a stationary bike. Wondering if this is just because of my excess weight and the length of time it took to get in to see the specialist.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Unfortunately I can’t really say since I was not involved in your surgery or seeing you as you physician now. Weight can slow recovery by adding to the stress the knee bears with every step. But I would check with your surgeon and get his opinion.

  44. Joe says:

    What is your opinion of Synvisc shots every 6 months. I just had surgery 8 weeks ago for a moderate miniscus tear. I still have pain in and around my knee. I’m an avid golfer and tried to play with no success. My Doctor told me to be patient and start 3 weekly sesions of knee excersize, no golf for 2 months. My first shot will be in Sept. Any thoughts?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I am generally not opposed to patients trying viscosupplementation. I rarely talk them into it, though, as the data is equivocal. Having said that, many patients with early arthritis changes get good relief of pain.

  45. Lisa says:

    I had this procedure done august 2nd. Last Friday morning. Had a medial meniscus tear. I am healthy and exercise regularly. Healing seems to be going well. At what point can I put body weight on leg that was operated on? Using crutches at moment. What can happen if I do so too soon and how would I know if something went wrong?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t say specifically in your case because I’m not involved. Weightbearing too early on a meniscus repair potentially jeopardizes the healing of the meniscus. For a partial meniscectomy, weightbearing generally is not restricted, but being too aggressive can increase pain and swelling in the first few days or weeks.

  46. Twinkle says:

    I had an acl reconstuction 8 months back and a partial meniscectomy for buckethandle tear 2 weeks back.
    I have no pain..I feel acl has completely healed.
    But I would like to know if I can get back at athleticsm, mainly long ump.
    Will long jump be okay?
    I will work hard, do my sports therapy well and be careful…but will long jump as an event cause me any injuries?

  47. Suleman Ahmad says:

    Sir, Im 22 and while playing football, i heard a crack and my knee ‘locked’ with extreme pain while I was extending it too much. MRI showed a grade II medial meniscus tear with partial ACL tear as well. After following up with surgeons, physical therapy there is no pain or hardly any pain except that on some shocks or extreme stress, it gives way with extreme pain or locks and opens only after three-seven days. The surgeon said that if symptoms persist go for partial minescectomy. I wanted to know if u can advise me on the following things:

    1. What part is ACL playing in the injury and symtomps? Will it ever heal and is there any surgery possible or advisable?
    2. If i continue exercise and physical therapy do i have a chance of healing and removing the symptom of locking/giving way which is the only problem that is restriciting me living a full life.

    Your views will be just taken as of advisory nature. Please reply to the fullest. Thank you! :)

  48. Bradley says:

    I am 15 years old and had a partial meniscectomy on May 07, 2013. I stayed in recovery mode for a while and then started PT. I got clearance to resume physical activity for August 01,2013 (I play high school football.) I started warming up with the team and did some light running. I also started running some basic drills and during one drill I was hit on the injured knee by another player’s knee. Since then I have had fluid build up and swelling. I don’t want another MRI. I am hoping the fluid and swelling will go away. Do you think it will heal on its own? If so, about how long should I expect to not play football?
    Thank you.

  49. leah says:

    My knee was amazing for two weeks after a partial maniscus removal. I had an extensive lateral bucket handle tear and 50% of my maniscus was removed. I came off all painkillers after two days and was walking up and down the stairs. I had pain but not bad . The only swelling was around the satures. However after three weeks I started to limp , my knee became really tight . I had a lot of swelling above the knee, that I didn’t have after surgery. It’s so confusing because my physio said it didn’t matter that I did a 40 min walkk 3 weeks after surgery as long as I had no pain , which I didn’t. I now don’t know if iv’e just done too much too soon or whether iv’e torn it again as it’s making snapping noises on changing direction when moving about and I cant bend it anywhere near as well as I did after the op. It have difficulty walking down the stairs and go one leg at a time,which I wasn’t even doing before my op. I also had my leg lock up when driving one day and had terrible pain and couldn’t change gear. Then after walking it seemed ok again. I am seeing the surgeon in a few weeks and hope it isn’t torn again.

  50. Dan says:

    I am 46 years old and had a partial meniscectomy in the summer of 2001, more than twelve years ago. I had been an avid runner and marathoner and tore the meniscus playing tennis. I have been pain free but refrained from running this entire time.

    However, I love running and no other exercise has been as pleasurable or “stuck” with me and I am starting to really feel like running again. Would this be at all advisable? Would the fact that I waited so long and am now so much more middle-aged help? Very eager to hear your reply.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I usually allow my patients to return to whatever sport or type of exercise they like after partial meniscectomy. Obviously there are many other factors, but one of the goals is to get people back to the activities they want to do. Running is stressful for the knees, but people like to do it.

      • Dan says:

        Thanks so much for taking the time to reply! I have begun a 13-week run-walk program to try to ease myself back into it!! In the third week now and so far so good!

  51. Michael says:

    Hi, I am a 15 year-old male athlete and have been diagnosed with a bucket-handle tear in my lateral meniscus , I am scheduled to have surgery next week (at which time the injury will be four weeks old) My question is… My surgeon is pushing to repair rather than re-section? What should I do?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t tell you what to do. I think if there is ever a chance to repair a patient’s meniscus, it is a good idea to try. Potentially preserving the meniscus to serve as a shock absorber can be important long term.

  52. john says:

    Hello Dr.
    I had my menisectomy roughly 3 weeks ago and I do some improvement with knee mobility. I used to play college soccer and dreamed of being special forces in the army but I know I wont get accepted with this condition. I wanted to ask what type of sports/activities can I do before arthritis begins? Before the injury my knee would not bend to full capacity but in you opinion what is an appropriate recovering time for this type of procedure?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      People return to activities between 2-6 weeks generally, although in my experience, full recovery can take 4-5 months. There are many factors in recovery, including the condition of the knee. I generally allow patients to return to the sports and exercise they want to play. While arthritis can develop later, I don’t routinely make people give up sports they want to play either.

  53. ryan p. says:

    hello dr.
    my son just had acl reconstruction and a partial lateral menisectomy. he is 15 years old. 6’2′ 275 and is incredibly strong. he plays football and is in throwing events in track and field. he has alot of rehab ahead of him. my question is, will he be able to continue in these sports and be eventually able to lift in the capacity he was pre injury. will he be able to bear the weight of heavy training? he injured his right knee and thats his weight bearing pivot leg in throwing events. he could squat a lot of weight . i ask this because after rehab i want to focus on what he can do and stay away from things that will put his knee in jeopardy. he is a division 1 type athelete.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Generally the goal of ACL and meniscus surgery is to allow athletes to return to all sports and exercise, even demanding ones. It is hard to give you advice on what specifically to avoid since I was not involved in his surgery.

  54. Tara says:

    I am a 49 year old woman. I had a partial lateral menisectomy when I was in my 20′s. I have been very active without any problems. Last year, I was trail running, helping my son get ready for hockey tryouts. My left knee (the one I had surgery on) started hurting while downhill running on the lateral side, right at the outside of the knee cap. I kept running on it and it got progressively worse over 2 months until I couldn’t run uphill without pain or on the flat ground. It did start swelling. It was not painful to press on it, anywhere. Since it only hurt when I pushed off or landed on my knee, I decided to hop on it to find out where the pain was so I could explain it to the Doctor. This one small action caused excruciating pain and I could not walk on it or go up or down the stairs. It felt completely unstable and I walked like a 90 year old. The strangest thing was I could not flex my quad, at all. It took 6 months before I could walk without a terrible limp. After 9 months I could finally lift my straight leg off the floor without that awful tearing pain at the lateral side of my kneecap. I finally got my mri which showed minor degenerative changes, mild condromalacia, sinovitis, and an anterior horn tear extending into the body of the lateral meniscus and mild tendinosis of the patellar tendon. After 1 year I can run slowly without pain in bare feet but not in running shoes. There is no pain around my knee. However I still cannot straighten it fully but it is close. I can flex my quad again. I have no pain going up and down the stairs but for some reason, I can’t hike down hills properly. No problem on the uphill. When it swells, it tends to be above my kneecap. I am scheduled for arthroscopy but I delayed it because my knee is still making (slow) progress. Do you think the problems running (pushing off and landing) and walking downhill are a result of the meniscus tear itself or something else, especially if it is still getting better? I thought meniscus tears didn’t get better. Thanks for any insight you could provide. P.S. I really don’t want to do anything that is going to accelerate degenerative changes to my knee (eg. unnecessary surgery)

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t give you any specific information or advice without being involved in your care. Generally trying to determine if symptoms are the result of a meniscus tear versus osteoarthritis can be very difficult. Running can cause pain, swelling, and more from either cause.

  55. Isobel says:

    Recognize when I first got going looking at this I didn’t
    know this continues to be quite possible that the things you talked about above even existed.

  56. Melonie jones says:

    I was wanting to know i had surgurey on my knee for the menescus ( iI know spelled wrong there will be lots of that im sorry for it to just bare with me ) and iI guess my inner is how it was explanned was unfixable and the sid was parcail repair and removal he also did a bi-latural releasement well that was just over a year ago and iI took a little tumble and iI mean little my knees hurt bad both could iI have done something they both catch and ache and give out please what should iI do please help me out with some advice thank you so much

  57. michael kay says:

    Just had partial meniscus surgery 07/17/13 to remove torn meniscus and loose fragments. Have stage 3 arthritis in knee. Had this problem for 25 years
    So far pain in knee is less However, surgery has caused
    major weakness AS KNEE IS STIFF. cannot walk properly, run or walk up and down stairs. Still have some pain. Advice do not have surgery unless absolutely necessary Cortisone shots helped a lot
    before surgery.Try to let it heal is my best advice.
    You will save you yourself a lot of disappointment

  58. Juan Rojas says:

    Hi David,

    Four years ago, when I was 29 I tore my lateral-posterior meniscus on my left knee while jogging lightly.

    I was formerly a varsity football player and never had problems with my knees while playing.

    Since those four years I have always tried to do low-impact exercise, but recently I decided to play frisbee a couple-of-times. I got excited and began to run harder. Since then, I have had constant discomfort in my knee right where the meniscus was removed.

    I feel a constant pinching feeling. My question is whether or not I have done permanent damage to it?

    Do you have any suggestions on what I should do?

    Thank you so much.

    • Juan Rojas says:

      I forgot to say that 90% of the meniscus was removed

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I really cannot give you a specific answer to your question, as I haven’t seen you as a patient or examined you or seen any radiographic studies. It is not uncommon for patients to develop pain where part of a meniscus was removed. What can be challenging is to figure out whether a new meniscus tear has occurred, if articular cartilage damage/arthritis has developed in that area, or if there is some other cause of pain. You might consider seeing your orthopaedic surgeon again for evaluation of your knee.

  59. Nicolas Bouche says:

    38 yo, cyclist and active men .
    I torn my medial meniscus while squating down, etc…(usual)
    3 weeks after the injury the MRI revealed a tear in buckle handle. Arthroscopy surgery was strongly adviced (i was fiven a 2 day notice). I was shocked since my knee was getting better everyday, with a slight blocage of the extention.

    Surgery went well, i thought, with 20% of the inner medial removed. No pains and no swelling for 2 weeks. Now,3 weeks later, pain appeared after a less than intelligent physical therapist gave me electrodes to the point of a contracture to the quadricep. Be aware, do not use electrodes..
    The pain was in the knee cap. I used a good masseur to relieve the quadricep.

    Worse: i have varus legs and i fell that the varus angle in my operated knee (right) has increased and the knee is also starting to give me articular pain after light walks. also the right foot feels flatter it seems. i may add to have some fever in parts of the day. I will see the surgeon on tuesday the 15th.

    At this point i wish i had not done this, but was there any alternatives???

  60. nicole says:

    I had a partially meniscectomy on the medial side of my right knee almost six weeks ago. im still in pain and its hard to walk or stand for long periods of time. I wish it would go away because it is affecting my mood and my quality of life. my surgeon doesn’t believe that I still have pain. Im in misery because my job requires me to be on my feet 8 hours a day.

    • Jan says:

      Nicole: Boy could I identify with your comments. I am now just past 4 weeks post op and every single day, I wonder if what I am experiencing is “normal”. I tolerate the physical therapy, but other than when I first get out of bed in the morning, I have stiffness, some pain and swelling every afternoon and evening, especially around the incision sites. I an constantly told “well, that’s typical”. I, like you, am finding that this is affecting my mood and quality of life; the physical therapist always seems to be a little surprised when I always relate the everyday symptoms. When I’m sitting down, I find myself dreading having to get up to do something; I’m an active person and such thoughts are really weighing on my emotions and mood. Please know that I’m thinking about you Nicole! Hopefully we’ll both improve!!

      • art says:

        Same predicament… i am almost 4 weekes after my 2nd menisectomy. Have your conditions improved? That would be comforting to hear you guys got better with time.

  61. jeff says:

    My17 year old son had a meniscus tear 7 weeks ago. he has no pain at this time and wants to delay the surgery is that possible.he’s also very active once to finish football season.and then possibly finish the surgery. is that possible to do.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Most athletes with a meniscus tear have pain that continues without surgery. If one can play without surgery, he might be able to wait until after the season. It is possible that the patient’s tear progresses or increases in size.

  62. Rajesh Saini says:


    As per the MRI report, there were one complex redial tear and other tears on anterior and posterior halves on lateral meniscus of right knee.

    I had a partial meniscectomy on lateral meniscus on 16-Oct-2013. I had seen the video of surgery and it looks like 40-50 % of meniscus has been trimmed off around radial tear and now it is in even shape (not in the “C” shape).

    Till the time I was on partial rest and was at home, I was felling some stiffness, loss of movement (like bones are rubbing to each other). But yesterday(29-Oct-2013) after I joined office(went by taxi and walked around .75 km in whole day), I started feeling pain and more loss of movement.
    Are these symptoms of osteoarthritis? Normally how much time it takes to recover from the surgery.

    I am now thinking I was better before the surgery and felling very scared of the future situation.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t say specifically in your case, but pain two weeks out from surgery could just be swelling and stiffness from the procedure and not anything more serious. I would ask you orthopaedic surgeon.

  63. Ray says:

    I had arthroscopic meniscus surgery 6 weeks ago. 80 % of my meniscus was saved. and it was a complicated fix. I was told there is some possible arthritus and cartilage damage. have my 6 week follow up this week. I am 38 yrs of age. I have played soccer at a high level my entire life. I have been experiencing pain and sharp pain at times. I have been in PT 3 times a week. I walk with discomfort and light pain at times and other times i feel no pain, it comes and goes throughout a day. very frustrating. is the pain normal at this stage?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t say if your pain is normal since I was not involved in your diagnosis or surgery. It is not uncommon for maximum improvement after partial meniscectomy to take several months. Your surgeon can likely give you a better answer based on your actual procedure.

    • art says:

      hi Ray! How are you feeling now? Have your conditions improved?


  64. jonathan bernardo says:

    Hi Dr. Geier!,
    I had a partial medial minscectomy last Oct. 16, 2013, it’ has been 3 weeks post op. swelling subsided already and started to attend PT sessions. my question is, would you recommend that i take glucosamine 1500mg OD or collagen capsules? is there enough evidence based on these meds? thank you!

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t offer you any specific recommendations, but I don’t think there is any research to definitively argue that any patient absolutely should take those medications.

  65. Jeni Lucas says:

    I’m a 51 year old female, had meniscual repair on right knee after injuring it. Kneecap also had to be drilled w/holes and hyperextended during surgery. 1 week after surgery had needle full of fluid drained off and was suffering from severe sciatia pain. Ended up 3 weeks later having to have a discectomy removing L5 disk which was impinging my sciatia nerve. I need to know, how often does this type of situation occur?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I haven’t heard of that particular scenario, but again, I am not involved in your care and cannot speculate on your medical issues.

  66. Maddie says:

    Im 16 and I was working out in weights when my knee twisted and popped and gave way on me. I then got horrible pains shhooting hroughout my knee later on in the day. I’ve elevated i and put ice on it. Do you have any ideas about what I did to my knee?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Unfortunately without examining you, I cannot really say what you might have done. If you or anyone has continued pain, swelling, locking, catching, or giving way of the knee, he or she might consider seeing an orthopaedic surgeon.

  67. Evangelos says:

    I m 35 years old,athletic and overweight
    Had surgery (partial menisectomy) two weeks ago
    Doctor said I should use crutches only until yesterday but I ‘m still not able to walk without using one,physiotherapist says no need to worry

  68. Rescue says:

    I am 22 years old, i got meniscus tear on 29 sept now i am able to walk but getting sudden jerks as if something happened and pain for just 2 mins,as i walk around 10-15 steps sudden jerk happens.can you tell me why it happens ?

  69. Paul says:

    Hi doc. It has been 8 months post menisectomy. I am in pt 2-3 x week , leg still is atrophic but getting better. I play only ice hockey as main athletic activity.
    My issue is with the lax knee I feel it is unstable, wants to give out. Im working to get vmo stronger but wonder if there might be something else that is causing the sublaxation.?
    Same knee has acl reconstructed using hamstring. The acl operation was performed 10 years ago…and with sedentary lifestyle..The leg was never really strong.


  70. Sherry says:

    I am a 55 year old female that had ACL repair on left knee followed with miniscus repair on my right knee. My ACL repair went great and I expected the same or better with me right knee. The miniscus repair has been disappointing. I had the surgery in March and now in December if I walk in a hilly area, my right knee becomes quite painful. I don’t notice pain when walking on flat ground. What causes me so much pain when walking up and down hills? Is there enough cartilage left to protect my knee joint when walking up and down hills? Is there anything I can do to alleviate this problem? I love to walk and do not want to lose this activity to a painful knee.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Unfortunately without seeing your knee by exam, x-ray and MRI, and arthroscopy, I can’t give you a real answer. Often pain with hills and stairs originates from under the kneecap. Your orthopaedic surgeon could better tell you if your pain is due to arthritis changes, weakness from the surgeries, failure of the surgery or other issue.

  71. Tai says:

    I had a minscectomy at the end of April 2013 in Aspen and i never felt like it was healed I did PT for 3 months but my mobility was not what I was expecting and the pain was constant.
    I moved to Seattle and went to a new doctor he recommended more PT so I did that for a month but no change. So I had another MRI and a tear was found.
    I had surgery 11 days ago and the knee feels 100% better than the first surgery.
    I think the first surgeon did not do a good job.
    My opinion is that everyone should see a good surgeon in a big city.

  72. Dylan says:

    Hello my is Dylan I’m 22 years old and over the course of 14 months suffered 2 acl tears ( have never had knee problems pre-injury. My most recent surgery took place October 18th 2013 and I had an acl reconstruction and partial menisectiomy done. My question is will there be anything 5-8 years from now that people can get to fill in the gap of what was removed so they can reduce their chances of getting arthritis or am I just stuck with having less meniscus in my left knee?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      There are meniscal transplantation surgeries that can be performed for some patients, where the surgeon implants an allograft meniscus. I don’t know if you would be a candidate, but it might be worth asking your surgeon.

  73. dez says:

    27 y.o female. Active. Was walking to work and hit by a car. Mri does showI have a meniscus tear and my patella also it’s not adjusting correctly…should be sliding easily…instead cracking…popping….pain…swelling. I will have to get the surgery due to a tear in the meniscus. I would like to ask what does the recovery entail? Could I still work if I’m seated most if the day? a little worried but hope it goes well. Thank you for the video it was informative.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Most people can return to work and simple activities soon after partial meniscectomy. Full return can take months, but they can gradually do more and more.

  74. what is good for arthritis To speak on this question it is possible long.

  75. sahil says:

    27 M…I have mild discomfort in my left knee since 4 months…a little pain only sometimes on fast walking,hill climbing…mri revealed a complex grade 3 tear of post horn of medial meniscus…unlike normal symptoms I dont have any locking clicking popping of the joint…neither there is any inflammation or redness in any area…I dont even remember any injury to my knee…shud I wait or straight away go 4 arthroscopy? ?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t say without being involved in your care, so I would ask your orthopaedic surgeon. Generally I don’t push patients toward surgery unless they are having symptoms, such as locking, catching, localized pain, etc.

  76. Lisa says:

    I suffered a work related injury on October 2012 and was sent to the company doctor. They told me at that time it was soft tissue of the left knee as my job required me to crawl 90% of my work day, not to mention I’m 54 years old. And after seeing them for 6 weeks and 3 weeks of PT following that they released me back to work no restrictions. The pain still persisted for months and decided to see my family doctor to see what was going on. Had an MRI found a bakers cyst that had ruptured and was aspirated and a cortizone injection given at that time which did not help at all. Pain still persisted upon which I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon which gave me 2 cortizone injections and ordered 4 weeks of PT. I also had 2 burseas present as well. After the 4 weeks of PT which according to my therapist we were beating a dead horse there my orthopedic surgeon went in and done knee arthoscopy to determine the cause. He told me prior to surgery that it was a good chance of a meniscal tear. Surgery was performed on December 3, 2013 in which I had a medial meniscus tear which was removed and done a clean up as I had pain around the kneecap as well. My pictures from surgery shown the large medial tear which looked like a piece of crab meat as he put it as well as around the knee cap looked like crab meat as well. when he did the clean up. from the build up of stuff there. I’m still undergoing PT now and off of work. I only have 78% range of motion with my left knee now and tightness, swelling and pain doing some of my PT exercises which require me to lift my leg or tighten my knee in order to do some of these exercise. My question is if and when I can go back to work will I be able to hold down a job working on concrete 8 hours a day? I told my employer that since the meniscus was removed according to my therapist a job on my knees would be bone on bone and would be a total knee replacement then.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I really cannot give you a specific answer to your question, as I haven’t seen you as a patient and don’t know how much of the meniscus was removed or how much remains to serve as a shock absorber. When we do these surgeries, the goal is usually to help patients return to their desired activities. Balancing that with the risk of future arthritis is tricky and varies from patient to patient.

  77. Feilong LING says:

    24 Jan. 2011, I had my meniscus torn playing football in Jena, Germany;
    25 Jun. 2013, I had meniscus trimming in Shanghai, China.
    About six month after the operation, I can walk almost normally and run with somewhat difficulty.

    My problem is that I have difficulty in going down stairs. Can anybody tell me the reason and what should I do to full recovery.


    • drdavidgeier says:

      I cannot say in your case specifically without examining you, but patellofemoral pain often causes pain going down stairs.

  78. Kevin says:

    Hello Dr. Geier,

    I’m male,21 yo. I had a meniscus tear maybe around 1 and a half years ago and I just had a partial meniscectomy 9 days ago. Before the injury I was a competitive futsal player and post injury, I stopped playing because my knee kept ‘snapping’ every time I play futsal (sometimes it snapped when I didnt’t even do sports). However I was still able to run just fine.
    I didn’t directly had the surgery because at first I didn’t aware of what meniscus tear and thought it’s just a twisted knee.

    My questions:
    Will there be an effect on my knee because I had the surgery far after the initial tear of the meniscus, not as soon as possible?

    As I read this page, I become aware of the OA that may become a problem later in my life because of the partial meniscectomy done to my right knee’s medial meniscus. Is there any way to prevent the OA from happening? Maybe what kind of food/nutrition that I need to take/avoid? What kind of exercise/activities that I should do/avoid?

    Also how to avoid damaging my articulate cartilage?

    Thanks doctor

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I don’t know that it is possible for a patient to completely prevent the risk for developing arthritis in the future. Maybe cutting back on repetitive impact exercise, like jogging, could help. The counter argument would be that the benefits of sports and exercise to a patient’s overall health outweighs the risk of developing OA.

  79. Mary says:

    Hi Dr. Geier,

    Thank you for all the information you provide. I am scheduled for a meniscectomy on Feb. 21 for a left medial meniscus tear with a flap that has apparently curled backward in such a way that it isn’t impacting my knee as most tears of this nature do. I am a yoga teacher and I experienced some clicking and popping in the knee last Spring without pain. Later, I developed discomfort in the left knee doing some yoga postures, especially squats and cross legged position. It is sometimes slightly tight and tender behind the knee. But that’s really about it. I live on the 5th floor without an elevator and I have no problem climbing or walking. And I simply modify my yoga practice and refrain from stressing the left knee.

    I’m having second thoughts about the surgery and am thinking of waiting until the discomfort or limitations increase. I know no one can decide for me, and my surgeon hasn’t pressured me at all. His opinion is that this won’t get better, and that sounds reasonable, but I’ve noticed that some days, I can squat without discomfort, and the knee has much better range of motion. Other days it is not possible to squat without discomfort.

    My question is about waiting: Is it likely that I would be doing more damage to my knee by postponing the surgery? In other words, would I be potentially causing more tears in the meniscus/wearing down cartilage, etc., by doing nothing until I have more pain and discomfort?

    In your experience, is there such a thing as waiting too long to have surgery? Would love to hear your opinion(s), and thank you again!

  80. Mary says:

    I forgot to say that x-rays revealed no arthritis and I’m 48. Thanks!

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t really give you specific advice. Generally I don’t think that delaying partial meniscectomy surgery is necessarily a bad thing for adults, especially in they are not having symptoms. Theoretically a tear could propagate, requiring more to be removed later, but that is hard to know. I usually encourage my patients to see how their symptoms do and use those as a means of deciding when to have surgery.

  81. DD says:

    MRI results are in and the question is…. can a faint tear of the inner portion of the anterior horn of the lateral meniscus without displaced fragment identified and grade 3 Chondromalacia Patella repair itself with the right treatment? I was told that since there is no blood supply to the meniscus the answer is no but a faint tear seems miniscule. I have no pain at all and have had some swelling that was drained.

  82. Aimee says:

    I am wondering if it is normal to be black and ble down into your calf and up onto the top part of your leg . This is my 2nd surgery and was told again it was full of arthritis and my next option might be a partial knee replacement. What should I do ? Please help… Tired of having pain….

  83. Noreen says:

    I twisted my right knee badly three years ago – crashed my motorbike at the race track (I had just turned 40). Two surgeries later (both repairs first to the medial then to the lateral) I still could not do stairs, could not stand for extended periods, struggled to walk long distances and couldn’t ride either super bike or dirt bike. Last (3rd) surgery was July 2013, both menisci were removed from right knee. I cannot wear high heels for extended periods, it feels as though the knee shifts position when wearing them, I cannot do any impact sports, I can however do stairs and walking presents no problem. My biggest stress, other than the high heels, is that I still cannot do more than 5 to 10 minutes on the super bike, possibly due to the bend of the knee to ride, also because you have to climb off the bike in corners, my knee just cannot take the extreme bend, or the full weight of my body when bent. I also miss my dirt bike, which is 100% impact on rough terrain, normally you ride in a standing position, knees slightly bent to absorb the impact. Muscle tone is about 90% of where it should be and should 100% within weeks if I keep my PT up. My Ortho and physio tell me that a knee brace will not help due to the fact that the shock-absorbency of the menisci cannot be substituted, can you verify this at all? I at least want to be able to ride either super bike or failing that, my dirt bike – I miss spending this time with my husband and son. I still struggle with swelling in the joint, 7 months later but I’m much happier now than I was before they removed the menisci. Definitely seems to gave been the correct decision on the orthopedic surgeons part.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t say if a brace would help you, but the surgeon involved could better direct you. The meniscus is a shock absorber in the knee, and a patient loses some of that function when part of a meniscus is trimmed out. The goal after these surgeries is to allow patients to return to prior activities, and very commonly the patients can resume those activities.

  84. Taylor says:

    Howdy, I’m a 21 year old female with a pesky medial meniscus tear. I obtained it December 26th, 2013. I am told it is a smaller tear, which is uplifting, but also that it in an area that doesn’t have a lot of blood flow. I have been going to physical therapy for 3 weeks now, and I feel dramatically better, but I am wondering if I should still get the surgery while I am young and can recover quickly. I have talked to someone that decided not to get the surgery, and then six years later obtained an even larger tear. I am just worried that the tear will come back and get larger. I am still having issues going down flights of stairs, but I try to avoid them.
    I was wondering what is the average time needed out of work/ school? And also how long crutches are usually needed. Anyone who has had a similar experience I would love to hear about it:)

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I don’t think there is an absolute right answer. I generally advise my patients to have surgery when the symptoms limit their ability to do their activities. In theory, it is possible for a tear to propagate. For a partial meniscectomy, I don’t make patients limit weight bearing at all. A repair might be different depending on the nature of the tear. Return to work depends on the nature of the job but can be within a few days to a week or two. Those are all good questions for your surgeon. Good luck!

  85. Aurora says:

    If the meniscus is completely torn, what is the common surgical procedure

  86. Kenneth Robinson says:

    Hi Dr Geier, just a general question. I had a partial lateral meniscectomy, due to a recurrent tear to what was a discoid meniscus. I’m now 10 weeks post op, and only now starting to see some improvement – I can only walk very short distances without flare up. I actually had a cortisone shot in this area a week earlier – would that delay my recovery?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t say if it did in your case. Generally cortisone injections are rarely necessary after partial meniscectomy surgeries, but I doubt that they would delay return to activities.

  87. Tavelyn James says:

    I have a meniscus tear in my knee also my patella is a little out of place I also have fluid on the back of my knee (Cyst), Ive been getting therapies and pain and swelling is still there especially with weights, walking, and even laying in the wrong position.It also locks at times when I’m walking and clicks if I swing my leg back and forth. Is it safe for me to continue playing basketball with this injury. Is it safe for my career and future. What risk could I incur if I continue to play like this.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I really can’t say since I am not your doctor and haven’t examined you. Generally I would think the biggest problem for an athlete with a meniscus tear would be significant pain with that sport that limited the ability to play.

  88. ActiveMom says:

    Dr, I’m 52 yo female, played basketball/volleyball through college and continue being active, running or basketball twice/week. Never had knee pain until 7 mos ago when pain began medial back of knee. Stopped virtually all activity… noticeable swelling lateral front of knee and constant pain in back, a lot of pain/weakness pushing off knee (like going up stairs) and could not jog/run at all. . 2 mos ago had MRI which showed medial horizontal tear, degenerative, posterior horn although lateral meniscus normal. For these last 2 mos since MRI, I’ve gone to physical therapy… exercise, laser light and ASTYM. All this helped insignificantly, little improvement. So, My Dr gave me a cortisone shot, which nearly completely relieved pain, but that only lasted 1 1/2 weeks and pain is back again just as before… very tender right in finger tip size spot on medial/back knee, can’t push-off, sore all the time, aching, weak, just like before. Now, he says options are: 1) wait longer continue therapy or 2) scope the knee and ‘clean up’ meniscus. I listened to your podcast about the Korean study of 50 yo patients with or without surgery with follow up outcomes about the same. I don’t want to have arthritis if Dr does arthroscopic and has to remove a lot of meniscus BUT I can’t live with this as it is. I want to be able to moderately run (resume light basketball) and keep up with my very active 9 yo son. In considering going ahead with arthroscopic surgery… What outcome is typical when a clean up of a horizontal degenerative tear is done in my age group, presuming Dr. will not remove a large portion of my meniscus?
    if I opt to NOT do artho, after 7 mos and no improvement, would I expect somehow more time and therapy will get me back to normal activity? Right now, I’m leaning toward the surgery. Thx for your feedback!

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t give you specific answers in your case. Generally the success largely depends on the degree of arthritis in a patient’s knee. If there is little degenerative change in the knee, trimming the torn part of the meniscus out has fairly good success rates, although the later development of arthritis is still possible. Results from surgery are harder to predict if a patient already has arthritis changes. I hope that helps!

      • ActiveMom says:

        thank you Dr! my ortho Doc said I have NO evidence of arthritis… bones, articulating surfaces perfect. I have never had knee pain until 7 mos ago, when the pain started in the medial joint line of only the left knee… same as today. I will speak to my Doc again, confirming he would only clean up the tear region and won’t take out any significant portion of the meniscus. thanks again.

  89. Scott says:

    I had partial meniscotomy three weeks ago. I am active, tennis-playing, 62. I had the same surgery on the other knee twenty years ago. My general sense is that commenters here are not a representative sample, and that generally this surgery yields good results. No?

    In any case, for this knee –I had a diagnosed by MRI tear for six years, but postponed surgery. My knee got worse (stiffness, pain in back and outside of knee, unable to play tennis well) recently, so I had the surgery. I think it’s going to be fine. Doing PT, balance, quad strengthening. Last time I did a lot with ankle weights, but apparently that’s not standard anymore.

  90. simon lee says:

    my 16 year old son has suffered a large discoid lateral tear. he will have a surgical repair . will he be able to resume a football soccer ) career professionally ?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Generally that is the goal of these surgeries – to get people back to the activities they want to do.

  91. Annie Byrne says:

    I had part of my meniscus removed 4 weeks ago. I had no pain up until last week when I went to surf camp (I know I shouldn’t ave surfed) anyway, there was no pain while surfing no stiffness, it felt absolutely fine! then the next day walking down the hill it just felt like I had a bit of shooting pain, I could actually touch it where it hurt when I bent my knee but within ten mins the pain was gone and felt completely normal again. it was on and off like this for the whole day. The next day I think it did it once but pretty much felt fine. And then today it pretty much feels fine again except it kinda feels like I have a dead leg except righ where I had the surgery. It doesn’t hurt much but makes me worried that ive done something. Anyway, my question is, what are the possible things that I could have done while surfing 3 and a half weeks post opp from simple removal of a flap. also could it jus be my knee adjusting or a nerve? im rally worried! (It was my first time surfing too so it wasn’t proper stuff)Yeah, so any insight please? he said 6 weeks befoire I can start doing proper exersize anyway.

    • Annie Byrne says:

      Im a sixteen year old female also who does massive amounts of exersize and sport

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t say much in your case without being involved. After a partial meniscectomy, patients can aggravate the knee with activity without causing any structural damage. Running or other physical activity can inflame the knee and cause swelling and pain. Having said that, it is not impossible to reinjure the knee with activity like surfing or contact sports. An orthopaedic surgeon can examine the knee and order an MRI if needed to determine if any structural damage occurred.

  92. PAUL G says:

    Update- It has been 15 months since my partial medial mastectomy. I can walk, swim, elliptical, and bike/spin no problems. Running, jumping, sprinting makes it sore afterwards but the next day seems fine. I also notice on most days something feels a little off. Not pain full just something feels missing. I guess it is better than before the surgery, but definitely not better than before the injury. I worry long term if my knee will give me problems if I over do it.

  93. UnsureHowToProceed says:

    I am 47 and have a torn medial meniscus in my right knee. An MRI revealed it to be a “bucket handle” tear around most of the interior of the meniscus. My surgeon recommends a partial meniscectomy. I am reluctant to have the surgery because the pain has subsided and because a physical therapist who specializes in knees told me that there is a significantly increased risk of total joint replacement after a partial meniscectomy (perhaps 20-30 years down the road). My surgeon disagrees, though he acknowledges that the injury has already put me at increased risk of total joint replacement in the future. I don’t know who to believe. Is there research that clearly answers this question? Does a partial meniscectomy increase the future risk of total joint replacement?

    • drdavidgeier says:

      Generally there are higher rates of degenerative changes months after meniscus tears and surgeries to trim part of the meniscus out. Having said that, the torn meniscus might not be providing the same amount of shock-absorbing properties as an intact meniscus. Most of the time, patients have symptoms that interfere with the ability to perform desired activities, so they undergo meniscus surgery.

  94. I am 65 in good shape.Had a medial menisectomy almost 5 months ago.I cant squat down to do anything down low close to the floor without severe patellar pain.I can sit and bend,flex my knee ,but if i go beyond a point like when squatting ,same thing,severe pain.The Dr,kind of elusive told me it was weak quads.Why? y resumed normal activities right away.He told me i needed to strengthen my quads since they get weak after menisectomy.he didint say what exercises nor why this happens.I really dont understand the connection between a menisectomy,small tear,and patellar pain.Thanks.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t say in your case specifically, but we see patellofemoral pain after arthroscopic knee surgeries. Often the knee swelling from the surgery and all of the arthroscopic fluid causes the quads to shut down somewhat, which seems to place increased stress on the patella. Usually patients can overcome it with physical therapy and home exercises.

  95. shobhit says:

    Hi Sir,
    I am a 27 years guy. Not much involved in running activities.While playing my leg got twist, I didn’t fall, but my knee started paining. pain subsided in 2-3 days but swellin didnt went hs been around 3 mnths. MRI reported high grade ACL tear and torn meniscus. i couldnt climb stairs but can walk easily if try to keep my feet properly. My surgeon is about to do surgery on 14 april 2014 and
    he is still not sure about ACL tear but he is sure about meniscus tear. he said he will do the operation for meniscus and at the surgery time decide wether to reconstruct ACL or leave it as it is.
    what i doubt is. just by trimming away torn meniscus and leaving ACL as it is wld i be able to gain me knee strength back so that i can walk on uneven surface and climb stairs? i am not an athelete and live a normal life.Sir,Please answer before my surgery.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t give you specific advice, as I say throughout this site. Treatment for a partial ACL tear really depends on the stability of the knee and whether a patient has giving way with athletic or other activities. You might check out the post on partial ACL tears for more information.

  96. DrJ says:

    Physicians are the worst patients, so bear with me.. I am 63,retired, but in good shape and very active..March 27, I had partial meniscectomies of my left lead leg after taking up golf again after 42 years. I was walking the next day, biking on day 2, and diligently working out at health club and pretty much normal by 2 wks post op.. My doc told me prior to arthroscopy that I might be playing golf in 3 wks and I laughed. But I have been to the driving range twice ( I turn out my left leg 45 degrees to protect the knee and wear a sleeve)..and no real pain!!.. success ..
    My question is.. I still have minimal edema and vague mild pains which respond nicely to ice. Also I get a slight painful twinge if I turn my knee a certain way… I am only taking 7.5 mg of meloxicam in the morning… Based on my excellent post op course so far, what would be a guestimate for the length of time I will have the swelling and mild pain? I assume that swinging the golf club without pain is an indication of a successful scope and that the motion of a golf swing can not further damage my knee. Thank you in advance.

    • drdavidgeier says:

      I can’t give you a specific answer since all patients are different. Also secondary damage, like articular cartilage damage, can affect the time a patient feels swelling and pain. Most patients simple meniscectomies in my experience are back doing most of what they want without pain or swelling by 6 weeks after surgery, although they often improve to maximum improvement around 4-5 months.

Leave a reply

david-headshot I am an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

On this blog, on my podcast, and in articles for numerous publications and in media interviews, I aim to provide you leading commentary and education on injury treatment and prevention to keep you performing at your best! Learn more about me >>


I'm excited to help with information and interviews for print, radio, television, and online media. Media information >>


Writing I write articles and columns for a number of publications and organizations. Writing information >>
Sports Medicine Simplified: A Glossary of Sports Injuries, Treatments, Prevention and Much More

Learn more about the glossary >>
© 2014 Dr. David Geier Enterprises, LLC

Site Designed by Launch Yourself