Running after knee surgery

People who have had arthroscopic MCL/miniscus repair-please tell me about getting back to running! How long after surgery did you start? What plan (if any) did you follow? Anything help/hurt? I'm going nuts-any info would be welcomed!!


  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,973 Member
    No good news here.

    I have a 30 yr old 3-way ligament tear in my left knee from skiing.

    Went thru all of the pre-surgical prep and informed consent procedures, including watching a 30 min video on the process.

    I opted out and decided against the knee surgery when I heard it would take a min of 6 months to a year for recovery.

    By coincidence, I've also had 2 separate surgeries on my right foot and ankle and, in each case, it took 6 months for me to walk w/o crutches or a cast/boot (including 3 months of PT) and a year until the foot/ankle felt normal again.

    I would expect no less in the case of your planned knee surgery.

    Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,492 Member
    A friend of mine had meniscus surgery last February. She began running again in a couple of weeks. She did her first short race a month after surgery, her first half marathon in 6 or 7 weeks and a marathon in May.

    When my husband had meniscus surgery, he was hiking again within a month and back to normal within two.
  • GiddyupTim
    GiddyupTim Posts: 2,819 Member
    Did you have a meniscus repair? Or did they trim it?
    Generally, if they trim it you simply wait for the swelling to go down and you are good to go. It might take a month.
    If they repaired your meniscus, it can take three months.
    But you have an MCL repair too?
    That is a bit different. They did not do those in the past because they often made them too tight and the MCL generally heals on its own. Even with a complete tear they did not do surgery in the past. Most orthopedists usually told you to avoid pivoting in the first weeks. But, pretty much, they assumed that most are healed by about eight weeks.
    All that said, recovery is individual. It can depend on age. It can depend on how motivated you are. It can depend on what kind of physical condition you are in.
    Course, if you haven't had the surgery yet, and you are told you need it, then I am going to guess that your surgeon thinks your recovery will be quicker and better with the surgery than it would be without it, and that you don't have much choice.
    If you are talking to a physician now and not getting the information you need, get a second opinion.
    All that said, I had an ACL repair together with a cartilage procedure known as OATS and a trim of my meniscus about four years ago. My recovery has been long and slow but I am older. Somewhere along the line I aggravated my meniscus tear -- probably worsened it?
    Anyway, my mensiscus/knee was very painful. I live for my exercise and my tennis, though. So, I chose to run and play tennis through it.
    Here's my rationale. They used to recommend meniscus surgery for all tears and they trimmed. In those days, they said the meniscus does not heal. No blood supply. Now they know the meniscus can heal, depending on the type of tear and where it is located in the meniscus.
    Moreover, studies of runners and people with arthritis and etc continually show that the more you use your knee the better its health.
    So, as I said, I chose to run through mine. Now, I would not be so cocky as to recommend this for anyone else. But the body tends to do better when it is not left idle and it has worked for me. My knee has continued to improve while I have done this. I am now almost without any pain at all, though the knee is still a bit weak because I have babied it for so long.
    I play tennis three or four times a week, and I run between 6-8 miles at least three times a week.
  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,841 Member
    what did your PT tell you? when my Dr released me to run, my PT gave me a running plan to ease back into it. it was similar to c25K, with the walk a little jog a little and eventually increasing the jogging. He said it takes time to toughen up the joints to handle the impact so you need to build them up slowly.
  • Lean59man
    Lean59man Posts: 714 Member
    Everybody's different.

    I had meniscus surgery and running is too stressful for me. Even long walks bother me.

    Biking does not bother me.

    It's very common for people to go from one knee surgery to the next to the next and then finally to knee replacement. This is particularly true for people who continue to do activities that got them into the surgeons office in the first place.

    Personally I'd like to avoid this scenario.

    I do not use any pain killers generally as I want to be aware if I am doing something that bothers my knee.

    If you need painkillers after you run or to enable you to run your body is trying to tell you something.

  • Luvmyhubby222
    Luvmyhubby222 Posts: 152 Member
    Thanks all! A little history- another runner ran into me a few months ago,and I had to have surgery in September. PT has not yet cleared me, but I am climbing the walls wanting to run! I am walking/biking as directed, but am hoping he let's me off the leash soon (prior to this I ran 5-6 days/week).

    The bummer of injury and not having my favorite coping mechanism (running) has been rough, and putting on some lbs has not helped. Looking forward to getting back to my preop self. :)

    Any runners out there-friend me :) Actually, anybody out there-friend me! :wink:
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,814 Member
    Not sure other people's experience is any real value to you - depends on scale/scope of the surgery plus the person.

    Meniscus tidy up in right knee - 100% fine after just one week, single leg squats, lunges, hops, twists no problem at all, no pain, no reaction.

    90% of meniscus removed from left knee, I only have 3k to 5k of running in that knee per week so mostly I just don't run. I hope to make the remaining 10% last my lifetime rather than the pessimistic prognosis of TKR by age 50 (57 now and still going strong).
    Cycling 100 miles a week is fine but just a couple of miles running and I'm in pain.

    Listen to your PT, build up progressively when allowed and back off if you get an adverse reaction would be my advice.
    Best of luck.