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Thread: Torn Meniscus -Get if fixed or deal with it and hunt?

  1. #1

    Default Torn Meniscus -Get if fixed or deal with it and hunt?

    I am very dissapointed to find out that I have a torn meniscus in my right knee. I am currently trying to decide if I should get it fixed asap (sometime in June) and hope the recovery is quick enough to allow me to get some alpine hunting (opener is August 1) in before the deer come down into the timber or try to deal with it during the upcoming alpine deer season (and get it fixed soon after). Not sure if dealing with it is really an option though since as of right now I don't think my knee would allow me to hump back down the mountain with a deer in my pack.

    What have your experiences been hunting with a torn meniscus and what sort of recovery from the surgery should I expect?

  2. #2
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    I guess it depends on you, your knee, etc. But here's something I posted in another thread a few weeks ago....

    Back in 2006 I drew DCUA walkin hunt. I'd done it before with a friend. 6 mile bike and then 15-20 mile trek one way. We had one sheep tag. 2 guys one ram not bad. But, in 05 my buddy and I each drew. I was running one March day and my knee twinged on me, it got worse and worse. Locked up on me a couple times. Long and short of it is I had a torn meniscus and in April they wanted to schedule me for surgery in May. No way I could do that with a DCUA tag in my pocket. I needed to be training, not recovering all summer. I knew what I had in store for me.

    I began riding my bike a ton to build cardio and leg strength/stamina. My first training hike I could barely walk down hill without a pack. I got some trekking poles and continued with rigorous cycling and hiking, really using the poles to help support going downhill. I got a neoprene brace that has 2 aluminum braces in it for lateral support. It helped and was a constant reminder to pay attention to how I used my leg, or how NOT to. By the end of July I was training with 85+ lb pack

    I was 45 when we did this hunt. You can do it. I say get a good comfortable brace with some lateral support and spend a lot of time cycling and hiking. Do any kind of other leg strength training you can.

    My knee held up, it got sore but 800 mgs Ibuprofen morning and night helped. That October they took out a chunk of my meniscus the size of a dime.

    12 Days 50+ miles 2 rams and a 45 year old blown out knee!

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...hlight=12+days

  3. #3

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    How bad is your tear? If it is bad, I would get it fixed. I had my meniscus surgery in mid April last spring and was walking into bear stands in early May. As a former college athlete, my knees are very important to me. With a meniscus, they can't be fixed, only cut out and trimmed and smoothed. I was biking buy the end of May and sheep hunt in August went great! Just need to take care in making sure you ice your knee as much as possible and treat it well those first few weeks. The doctor smoothed down some of my bone in my knee and think that is what actually ached the most. I say get it done as early as you can and then rehab it right and you will be fine by Aug. 1

  4. #4

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    Hate to disagree with Northway but I was always told that with younger people they often do try to sew the tear back up depending on how you tore it. But, maybe his doctor told him different. I just remember having an athlete of mine and the physical therapist said it was common for teenagers to get it sewn back together. The danger of just going without getting it fixed though is the increased likelihood of it locking up. If there is a flap created from the tear that can get caught and cause your knee to feel locked up. You do not want that with a pack on. I believe standard recovery time for meniscus surgery is 4-6 weeks. Talk to your doctor and explain your situation and see what they say as far as your likelihood of being back in the woods by August 1. Like Northway said if you do hike though ice ice ice....keep the sweeling down.

  5. #5
    Member egreife's Avatar
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    Get the knee fixed. All knees are different, but you should be good to go by August. Like BigMO stated, if you get out there on your hunt and something gives out, even 800mg ibuprofen ain't gonna help. I'm talking from experience!

  6. #6

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    You did not indicate the amount of damage associated with the tear. If it is something that they can go in and "clean up" via arthroscopy, you can be up and fully active in 1-2 weeks. If that is the case, go now and get back to full activity sooner rather than later. If the damage is more complex and also involves ligaments, start adding time to the recovery process.

    Simple answer would be if it's a minor surgery, go now. If it's more complex, it depends on how structurally sound your knee is and what your pain tolerence is.

    Above all else get a second opinion before making a decision and ask around to get referrals to the best Ortho guy you can find.

  7. #7

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    Take care of your knee, you only have 2 of them and were only talking about a slight interruption of a short period of your life. I was 58 and awake when they fixed mine. Got to watch on the little screen. The next day I was walking in the store and not on pain pills. I still have arthritis in my knees but that meniscus tear was hurting me before I got it fixed. I bet you heal up fast.

  8. #8
    Member AK Jay's Avatar
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    I had meniscus surgery back in 07 and it had about a month of rehab before I was back running again. How bad is the tear?

  9. #9

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    There's a time tested principle in orthopedics that you should consider. 'As the meniscus goes, so goes the knee'. If your upcoming hunting trip is worth the early onset of knee osteoarthritis (medial compartment syndrome) then go for it. Simply put, the knee requires cartilage to allow free gliding. If the meniscus is disrupted in any shape or form it will lead to wearing down of the underlying bone. When bone is overstressed it develops stress peaks that causes more changes of the bone in a way that will further accelerate the wearing down of the remaining cartilage. A few weeks of this process is tolerable, however a few months and the possibility of some very stressful hiking/packing will definitely cause some serious bony changes. My recommendation would be to get it fixed ASAP and work hard to rehab in prepartion for the hunt. It's highly possible you could make the deadline. If you wait, then you risk a more serious procedure to address this injury.
    Jackal

  10. #10
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    I have gone through two meniscus surgeries in the past 10 years. After the first one I was back pheasant hunting in 10 days. When I hunt it is solo with my dog and we cover a lot of ground. I did avoid the really thick cover, no cattails or really tally heavy crp but I walked a lot. It only took 2-3 weeks until I was totally back to normal. When both of them went I was absolutely unable to put any weight on that leg immediately. The first one happened on a pheasant hunt but had possibly been starting here in AK as I duck hunted across tide guts and hiked the hills for moose. The second one was so bad that I had to crawl into my small RV as I couldn't possibly stand. After the 2nd surgery I was walking quite normally in two days, although I didn't push the recovery. Since both of them I have been goat hunting, moose hunting, etc. It won't lay you up very long and the risk of increasing the tear is too much to gamble with IMO. In both cases, my biggest problem after surgery was to try and take it easy for a few days as I was feeling fine so early that I was afraid I would do too much right away.

  11. #11

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    SE Alpine,

    This subject was discussed here about a month ago. I'm going to include the link so you can take a look. Every injury is unique as is the response to an injury, so you will need to make your own decisions. Since I've been there and done that before with knee issues, I wish you well and hope it works out for you.

    MyTime

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ht=#post921228

  12. #12
    Member MTBrownBearHunter's Avatar
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    Had mine surgically repaired about three and a half weeks ago. Took it easy for the first week, then have been hitting it hard since and it feels great.

    Have been doing some lots of hiking, P90X'ing and played softball on Monday. I'm real happy I got it done as I was in a LOT of pain prior to getting it repaired.

    That's my recent experience anyway.

    Good luck!

  13. #13
    Member DrB's Avatar
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    Default Surgery

    A few years ago I had a torn meniscus which made it painful to walk at all. I went into the hospital on crutches and walked out following arthroscopic surgery. It was an immediate relief. If the surgery being contemplated is arthroscopic, I would definitely get the surgery done. If the meniscus cannot be dealt with arthroscopically, it will be more extensive and a longer recovery time. In the latter case, you will have to make a personal decision . . .

  14. #14
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Putting it off won't make it any better...
    A son had orthoscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus and was skiing 3 days later

  15. #15
    Member jcorwin4278's Avatar
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    Default Do it!!

    I have had 3 torn meniscus and I can tell you it hurts to deal with it for a long period of time. The last time I had 2 torn for like 2 or 3 years and it just got worse till I could barely stand on it. I would do the surgery if I were you. It is an easy surgery and you should have plenty of time to rehab and get to hunting. Trust me, not dealing with it now could make it way worse. I now "might" have arthrituis. I am still having problems with my knee and might have to have another surgery. Keep your knee in good shape, becuase once they hurt, they will forever.
    Hunt until you don't like it any more

  16. #16
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    DEFINITIVE ANSWER: "it depends" ... on the the injury, location of tear, size of tear, any loose fragments, age of patient, level of physical activity and degree of disability. Suturing of a torn meniscus is sometimes an option depending on the age of the patient and more so the location of the tear: red zone more likely to be successful while white zone usually not done because of low success rate. Not all tears need to be fixed and the knowledge and technology of meniscus repair has evolved significantly over the years - esp. the last 20 or so. It is a decision best reached after a through evaluation with your orthopod followed by a frank and candid discussion regarding the nature of the injury and the various treatment options and your physical activity goals. The proliferation of developments and progress in arthroscopic surgery has significantly altered the old time honored treatment options. I know of patients that need to have surgical treatment of their tears within weeks of their initial injury. At the other end of the spectrum are individuals with multiple tears in both knees for 40+ years and mountain hunt all over the world 3 to 5 times a year without their tears adversely impacting or limiting their hunts/climbing in any way ... yet. GET A COMPETENT ORTHOPEDIC EVALUATION BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR FINAL DECISION. Good luck.
    "Actions speak louder than words - 'nough said"

  17. #17
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    Default Know ahead of time what the doctor plans on doing!

    I faced a similar problem last hunting season, and opted to wait. Worked out great for me, but every situation is different. However, when the surgery eventually took place in October, the doctor scraped some bone and cartilage beneath my knee cap and my knee hasn't been the same since. I wasn't aware that he was going to do that. I am 30 years old and used to lift weights on a daily basis, and haven't been able to work my legs for several months. I play basketball 2-4 times a week, and I get so much fluid in my knee that it looks like a golf ball protruding from the lateral portion of my knee. I have to ice my knee a couple of hours before doing anything arduous. Just a word of caution - DISCUSS THE PROCEDURE WITH THE DOCTOR AND BE AWARE OF WHAT HE PLANS ON DOING.

  18. #18
    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    I'd get it looked at now and tell your doctor of your plans. http://www.mcguiremd.com/ This guy here is the best in the State and one of the leading surgeons in the country as a knee specialist. His bed side manner is poor at best because he will not surgar coat anything. He is pretty blunt to say the least. If you get it done now and follow the exersise/PT plan he tells you to follow at your own pace done anywhere you have time to do it (no equipment needed) you will be ready for your hunt. My wife had surgery from him 2 months ago. He's awesome.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by shphtr View Post
    DEFINITIVE ANSWER: "it depends" ... on the the injury, location of tear, size of tear, any loose fragments, age of patient, level of physical activity and degree of disability. Suturing of a torn meniscus is sometimes an option depending on the age of the patient and more so the location of the tear: red zone more likely to be successful while white zone usually not done because of low success rate. Not all tears need to be fixed and the knowledge and technology of meniscus repair has evolved significantly over the years - esp. the last 20 or so. It is a decision best reached after a through evaluation with your orthopod followed by a frank and candid discussion regarding the nature of the injury and the various treatment options and your physical activity goals. The proliferation of developments and progress in arthroscopic surgery has significantly altered the old time honored treatment options. I know of patients that need to have surgical treatment of their tears within weeks of their initial injury. At the other end of the spectrum are individuals with multiple tears in both knees for 40+ years and mountain hunt all over the world 3 to 5 times a year without their tears adversely impacting or limiting their hunts/climbing in any way ... yet. GET A COMPETENT ORTHOPEDIC EVALUATION BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR FINAL DECISION. Good luck.
    Great post. I injured mine two April's ago and then didn't get surgery until the following April, so sheep hunted, etc. with it. My knee swelled up, but wasn't painful. Running on it was where it hurt.

  20. #20
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    GET IT FIXED!!!! The recovery will be very short and you can go on your hunt. Without getting it fixed, the asymmetry will cause it to get larger and that is very bad. Good luck. J.

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