Sports Medicine/trick knee

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Question
Two years ago I sprained my right knee running. It took almost two years to heal. My doctor said there was no damage, just a slight meniscus tear. I am sure my age, 55, and excess weight were also mitigating factors.
Since then I have lost a bit of weight, but still dont feel confident enough to run outside or even on a treadmill. Every so often this knee gives out momentarily. I can rover, but it has been scary the couple times I have been going downstairs with a load of laundry.
Am I stuck with this forever, considering my age? I do squats and leg gursl to strengthen it-they havent helped a bit. Neither has calcium or glucosamine.
I just bought an elliptical which gives me a good workout with no issues. I can live with having to use that, but I miss running-even on the treadmill. Thanks for your thoughts.

Answer
Dear Bud,

I'm sorry to hear you've been having problems with your knee, especially for two years. That's a long time to live with discomfort and a feeling of instability.

Let me start by saying 55 is young! (And it seems younger to me every day!) But truly, what you describe are not symptoms you have to live with. Unfortunately, meniscal tears often don't heal on their own. They don't get good vascular blood flow to help them repair themselves, so small tears often turn into larger ones. If you look down on the menisci, they look like C shaped discs. They are thicker out by the rim and get thinner on the inside. This provides support and some stability for your knee. I'm guessing your meniscus is torn and since you may not have the normal congruity of your meniscus, it is giving you the feeling of instability when you walk downstairs carrying the laundry.

I think it would be wise for you to see an orthopaedic specialist and to have x-rays, and more importantly, an MRI taken. The MRI will best assess your menisci. If your meniscus is torn, unfortunately surgery may be indicated. You might be able to have your meniscus repaired or debrided. While rehab and physical therapy will strengthen your knee, it won't affect the source of your pain and instability.

But one step at a time, make an appointment to see a specialist and get some facts.

Good luck. I hope you return to the activities you enjoy, which I think is very plausible!

Kind regards,
Hope

Sports Medicine

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Hope T. Horton, RN, BSN

Expertise

Questions related to knee, shoulder, hip and ankle injuries, including treatment options and what is involved in recovery from injuries including surgical and non surgical interventions.

Experience

I an a registered nurse and have worked in orthopaedics and sports medicine for over twenty years (since 1993).

Education/Credentials
Graduated summa cum laude as the valedictorian from Regis University in Denver, CO with my BSN. Prior to that I was an EMT working in emergency rooms in Vail, CO and Denver, CO as well as on an ambulance in Vail, CO.

Awards and Honors
Elected Valedictorian of my class and awarded to Regent Award for excellence in academics. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

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