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Sports Medicine/knee surgery, meniscus, menisci, arthritis


My husband is am 55. Three years ago he tore the meniscus in his left knee plaing soccer. The X-rays looked OK and our family doc said it would take time to heal.
Three years later he was still limping and it still got stiff after sitting for long periods, so he got acupuncture. This helped the pain and stiffness a bit, but he wanted full function. He is a bus driver, and the sitting and then the  stiffness upon rising no fun and a bit dangerous. So, he booked a visit with an orthopedic surgeon.
The doctor said he could fix the tear and remove some arthritis, but the surgery was up to my husband if  he could live with a bit of pain and stiffness. He decided to go ahead and book the operation.
He has a tendency to be a bit nervous around doctors, so he did not ask all the questions he should have. Can you help?
1. He is  definitely a 'slow healer'. After the surgery, how long until he can resume normal activities?  In other words, how much time off work is he looking at?
2. Will this help ward off any future arthritis?
Thank you so much, and have a good new year!

Hello Susan!

Please forgive the long wait  for your reply from me.  Unfortunately, my computer has decided to take things in her own hand, and deleted several letters, and your letter was just one of the disappeared.

To answer your questions, the menisci are pads in the knee which buffer the upper leg bone (femur), and the lower bone (tibia).  Because the menisci are ligamentous tissue, they have very little blood supply.  This is one of the reasons they do not heal fast, and there are times when arthritis develops to buffer the torn menisci. To label your husband a "slow healer " is probably very accurate....due to his age, and how much damage was done to the menisci.

You mentioned your husband was reluctant  to ask questions of the doctor, and that is ok.  You will now take over, and with pen and paper in hand, you will write the question down,  and ask the questions yourself!  If the surgeon does not make it clear, ask him to explain the answer better.  Depending on the size of the tear, and the amount of arthritis he will remove, the answer to the question referring to time off work can only be judged by the doctor.

The question of arthritis is also difficult to answer because anytime there is a break in the bone surface, or a deformity, or some other unusual events to hard tissue, arthritis will develop.  Even when the doctor states he will scrape off the arthritis, there will be continual development of  arthritis within the tissue that has been disrupted.

Knowing I have left you with some unfortunate news, I still want you to write down any, and all, questions for the doctor.  You will essentially be speaking for your husband, and both of you can discuss the doctors' answers.  Please let me know what the surgeon says, if you would like to share it with me.  I care, and I hope he can give you some really good news about the surgery.  Again, I am so sorry about the delay in returning your letter, and I hope the techs can fix whatever went wrong!

Best wishes for you,

Dr Patricia Arthur

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Dr. Patricia B. Arthur, DC, MRC, CST


As a 30-year practicing Chiropractic Physician, my specialty was Sports Medicine. For 8 years I had the distinct pleasure of working with the USOC, and traveled the world to care for the athletes in the Pre-Olympic venues for the Summer Games. When I wasn't traveling, I had a private practice, and a hospital practice, in Kamuela, Hawai'i. Questions I couldn't answer usually dealt with pharmeceuticals. This was not my expertise, but the simple questions pertaining to familiar drugs I was able to digress, or refer to someone that was knowledgable in that field. Most Sports Medicine field injuries were familiar to me, but I always aired on the side of caution. In my office practice, I would tend to see more patients with the weekend injuries who would try to self-treat, only making the injury worse than it should have been! Nevertheless, I never took anything for granted, and so it was my conservative approach to the "cause-and-effect" mechanisms that were vitally important to the healing process.


Following my competitive nature, I knew Sports Medicine would always be a part of my life. After graduation from Palmer University in Iowa, the old adage taught at the school dealt only with the spinal column......anything connected to the spine was outside our scope of practice. To me, this was too simplistic, because the complex body also had arms and legs! From this point, I developed specific technigues which would encorporate the body as a whole rather than haphazard segments. There is nothing traumatic that happens to a single ligament, tendon or joint that doesn't effect a secondary, or possibly a tertiary element in that area. In order for that space to heal, all the factors must be addressed. Volunteering my time teaching referrees, coaches, and interested parents about the realities of probable sports injuries was worth a thousand words!j

American Chiropractic Association; Local Emergency Response Committee; Hazardous Materials Response Team; Urban Search and Rescue Team - Operations and Planning; Federal Corps of Engineers Committee; Earthquake Advisory Board; Big Island Wildfire Committee

Papers published focusing on the importance of proper care of sports injuries; Authored medical columns for the syndicated magazine "The People's Doctor "; Published papers in professional journals on Head Injuries in Sports; Published papers on Drug Abuse in Sports.

Robert Packer Hospital - Certified Surgical Technician - CST; Palmer University - Doctor of Chiropractic - D.C.; Wright State University - Masters in Counseling/Psychology; Wright State University - Masters In Couseling of the Severely Disabled.

Awards and Honors
Selected US Olympic Physician -1988; Graduated Wright State University with a 3.75 GPA; Graduated Palmer University with a 3.5 GPA; Faculty Appointment - Palmer University Post Graduate Education; Faculty Appointment- Hawai'i/Kapiolani Community College - Skills Team Tester;

Past/Present Clients
Cincinnati Bengals Football Team pre-season training; Summer Olympic Athletes worldwide; Kona Ironman Triathletes - Finish - line physician

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