Torn and Repaired Meniscus - thoughts/input - When can i climb again?!?


Original Post
atlam1 · · Denver, CO · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 0

I know Mt. Proj isn't really the best place for medical advice but after scrolling through the forums there hasn't been to much discussion on this particular injury so thought I'd get one started hopefully.

So I tore my left medial meniscus, no ACL/MCL/PCL damage so I'm lucky in that aspect. I had surgery 2 weeks ago to fully stitch and repair it, which was successful. I've started rehab and am still in a locked brace for at least 4 more weeks. So obviously no climbing for the next little bit but I was wondering who else has experienced this and when they started climbing again. The doc says no climbing for 6 months...but not sure if I can last that long without some climbing in my life. 

Anyways comments, thoughts, and suggestions are welcome 

Tony Kuropatwa · · Pa · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Yep no Climbing for 6 months you had a repair done much longer recovery You need the time for the repair to heal properly you should be fine if you follow your instructions and do not over push things trying to get back soon

if you only had a clean up of the meniscus you would be down for 4 to 6 weeks so having a repair done takes longer recovery time take it easy follow your instruction and you will be good as new don't follow instructions and you will be back in for surgery 

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 240

Meniscus repair in July of 2014. 2 months strictly nonweightbearing, another month of gradually putting the weight on and learning to walk.

 I was told by the doctor that I would be "back to normal" at 4 months. My PT said that it would be about a year before i was truly back to normal. The PT was correct.

The normal that the dr meant was for everyday activities, such as walking. I did start climbing (toproping only) at 4 months. And I was leading at 6 months, and sending within 2letter grades of my best red point. 

But I was not able to jump at that point yet, landing from even couple feet high was impossible, and i was guarding the knee and backing off many routes that had a move that I thought could reinjure me.

 I was doing PT for about 9 months. My personal goal was to be able to get back into doing a one-legged squat on the affected leg. Once I was able to do that, I was able to cautiously start bouldering again. At was a year before I felt that I was able to climb normally, without guarding my knee and thinking about it on every tricky move

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5

For me- right meniscus tear and repair February 2012. I wad foretunate to have a doctor and PT that were very athlete-oriented and were willing to push to get me back to activity reasonably quickly. The doctor said climbing at 4 months, 100% full strength at 1 year. This proved accurate.

My timing was as follows: Tear (high stepping on a route) in early February. Major tear, knee locked. Surgery 2 days later. Non weight bearing for 6 weeks. Limited walking and weight bearing began in late March. Walking improved through the spring, with lots of PT. Regaining range of motion was the main issue. 

Started climbing carefully in early June (4 months). Definitely no bouldering, and had to be careful with high steps, etc. Stuck to steep sport climbs with clean falls. Once I started climbing my knee's improvement really took off. The regular use strengthened it and increased the range of motion better than the PT. My climbing came back quickly too, and by mid-August I did my first 13b, my hardest route at that time. Dropping 8 pounds of leg muscle weight certainly helped. There were still certain moves, like aggressive high steps, tight knee bars, etc. that I had to avoid that summer.

I was able to start bouldering and running again that fall at around 8 months, but still had to be careful with those. 100% back to normal at 12 months. No issues since.

Note that I was 23 at the time of injury. Being young helped the recovery rate. Might take longer if you are older.

Scoop · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 0

Three meniscus surgeries. Do your PT. Ride your bike if it is pain free,  When you feel strong enough to climb, go slow and give it a go.  My experience is more like six weeks, at least for being back on skis. You may want to use a neoprene brace for a while.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5

Scoop mentioned bike. Bike was really good for PT and strengthening, and also just being able to do something. Was able to pedal a bike about 10 weeks post surgery.

atlam1 · · Denver, CO · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 0

Thanks everyone. Seems like there's no quick way out of this one but appreciate the feedback. I was told the bike would become my new best friend once the brace comes off. So something to look forward to in the short run. glad to know what's coming down the line  

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 240

Another yes for a bike. That was a big part of my PT once I was allowed to put some weight on the leg. And I can't stress enough the importance of good Therapist who understands athletes! The PT I was originally sent to was worthless. 

gtluke · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 3
JCM wrote:

For me- right meniscus tear and repair February 2012. I wad foretunate to have a doctor and PT that were very athlete-oriented and were willing to push to get me back to activity reasonably quickly. The doctor said climbing at 4 months, 100% full strength at 1 year. This proved accurate.

My timing was as follows: Tear (high stepping on a route) in early February. Major tear, knee locked. Surgery 2 days later. Non weight bearing for 6 weeks. Limited walking and weight bearing began in late March. Walking improved through the spring, with lots of PT. Regaining range of motion was the main issue. 

Started climbing carefully in early June (4 months). Definitely no bouldering, and had to be careful with high steps, etc. Stuck to steep sport climbs with clean falls. Once I started climbing my knee's improvement really took off. The regular use strengthened it and increased the range of motion better than the PT. My climbing came back quickly too, and by mid-August I did my first 13b, my hardest route at that time. Dropping 8 pounds of leg muscle weight certainly helped. There were still certain moves, like aggressive high steps, tight knee bars, etc. that I had to avoid that summer.

I was able to start bouldering and running again that fall at around 8 months, but still had to be careful with those. 100% back to normal at 12 months. No issues since.

Note that I was 23 at the time of injury. Being young helped the recovery rate. Might take longer if you are older.

Just got my diagnosis yesterday and searched MP and was happy to see such a new thread.

I too tore mine climbing I think. Same thing, high right foot. but mine didn't lock, just made a lot of noise. Didn't have much pain for a few months but it would pop and feel like crap while climbing hard. Finally got an MRI and it's a complex tear of posterior medial meniscus.

laaame

these recovery times are scaring me. My appointment with the surgeon is on Tuesday where I"ll find out the actual bad news. If I can I'll postpone the surgery till November so I can just sit out the winter. 

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 240
gtluke wrote:

Just got my diagnosis yesterday and searched MP and was happy to see such a new thread.

I too tore mine climbing I think. Same thing, high right foot. but mine didn't lock, just made a lot of noise. Didn't have much pain for a few months but it would pop and feel like crap while climbing hard. Finally got an MRI and it's a complex tear of posterior medial meniscus.

laaame

these recovery times are scaring me. My appointment with the surgeon is on Tuesday where I"ll find out the actual bad news. If I can I'll postpone the surgery till November so I can just sit out the winter. 

If it's been a few months for you already, and there is little pain, the surgery is unlikely to be urgent, and you can likely postpone it. A lot of people opt not to have surgery for a meniscus at all... I certainly was considering that option-- but very happy that i went on with the surgery.

But while winter sounds tempting as a downtime, consider that it is much harder to put on long pants over the leg you can't bend, and it is much harder to hop on crutches when the ground is icy, and traveling over the holidays is not fun with crutches, either.

There is never a good time to have a surgery... Also, depending on the tear, and your age, they might not repair it, just trip the torn parts, or remove the meniscus completely. And in that case, you can be weight-bearing pretty much the day or two after surgery, and the recovery is quicker. (but longterm prognosis in terms of arthritis, etc is better for the repair)

gtluke · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 3
Lena chita wrote:

If it's been a few months for you already, and there is little pain, the surgery is unlikely to be urgent, and you can likely postpone it. A lot of people opt not to have surgery for a meniscus at all... I certainly was considering that option-- but very happy that i went on with the surgery.

But while winter sounds tempting as a downtime, consider that it is much harder to put on long pants over the leg you can't bend, and it is much harder to hop on crutches when the ground is icy, and traveling over the holidays is not fun with crutches, either.

There is never a good time to have a surgery... Also, depending on the tear, and your age, they might not repair it, just trip the torn parts, or remove the meniscus completely. And in that case, you can be weight-bearing pretty much the day or two after surgery, and the recovery is quicker. (but longterm prognosis in terms of arthritis, etc is better for the repair)

Thanks

I'm 37, I should find out what my options are from the surgeon Tuesday. I presume it's going to be cutting out the torn parts. The long term arthritis thing is what I've read about. I hope in 10-20 years they'll have a better solution when I need it. Even today I know a couple people who recently had total knee replacement and were back in business with complete mobility in a few weeks. 

Oh, and you assume on an average day I actually bother to put on pants ;)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply