Monday, February 24, 2014


I never thought I'd be so thrilled to hear "you have torn cartilage." Mine is the "torn horn" type.

Photo credit.
Why thrilled?  The cure is surgery.  My doctor has performed some 2000 of them.  And he says full recovery in 6-8 weeks.

The lesson:  I went to see the doctor in November when rest was not working.  I futzed around with the MRI and did not get in until early February.  I'll be getting surgery in mid-March.  Had I moved at the appropriate pace, I might have had surgery before the holiday and been back in the swing of pain-free running by now.

On the other hand, four-or-so months off and an almost certainty of a marathon-free year can't be all bad.

NB:  This explains my staccato of "I ran pain free!"/"I can't walk!"  Apparently meniscus tears hurt or not more or less at random.


  1. Wow! So glad you got your answer. I had arthoscopic surgery for torn cartilage (not meniscus though) on my knee 6 years ago and recovery wasn't too bad (I just had to be patient). Are you having surgery in DC? Best of luck! (And now I am kind of wondering if I should get an MRI, too...)

  2. Right, DC -- or CC/Bethesda technically. Were you in therapy immediately after surgery? I was so happy to hear there was an answer that I neglected to ask the pertinent questions.

  3. I bought my first tri bike in 2005 at a time when I actually couldn't run due to recent meniscus repair surgery. (As it turns out, my phantom knee pain wasn't actually related to the torn meniscus, but now I suppose it isn't torn anymore, at least.) My understanding of the recovery period is that it turns on whether they'll repair your meniscus, i.e., sew it back together, or whether they'll cut off a portion that's flapping around. With a repair -- what I had -- 4 months off of running sounds about right. I was able to go from "don't own a bike" to "century ride" in that time, though, so it won't be completely wasted. If they're excising a piece, the recovery is much quicker, but you're prone to arthritis in the long run.

  4. I tore my right meniscus skiing in December 1967 (yes 1967). The next year we went skiing my parents decided to spring for the release bindings at the rental shop . . .

    The good folks at Stowe put me in a splint and sent me back to NYC. Once there I saw one Dr. Frank Stinchfield, whose main claim to fame was that he pioneered hip replacements, but in the knee department, he also treated a certain Joe Willie Namath. Hmm . . . Anyway, he looked at it, said I don't think I need to operate. Ten years later, I went back when my knee was hurting, and he declared it nothing. I spent the Spring of first grade on crutches and had to spend recess reading in the nurse's office. Since then, my patellar tendon has flared up occasionally, but my right knee is probably the only thing that doesn't hurt . . .

    Congratulations Max, on a diagnosis that you can live with!!

    1. (Apologies if this posts twice) My surgeon was not encouraging re: PT. (Surgeons think surgery is the be all, end all cure.) Knowing what I know now, I wish I had gotten into PT ASAP. DO IT.

  5. Feel better and keep on blogging.