Question - Knee Pain (meniscus tear, chondromalacia)

by Frank
(Staten Island, NY)

I recently had a MRI taken of my left knee. The findings are as follows:

The patellofemoral joint space is preserved. There is signal abnormality within the pateller cartilage and to a lesser extent, the pateller body, consistent with moderate chondromalacia. No significant effusion is seen. the retinaculae are intact. There is no significant baker's cyst.

The anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments are intact. Signal abnormality is noted along ht course of the anterior cruiate ligament, consistent with underlying ACL sprain. A complex tear is seen within the posterior horn, body medial meniscus. Mild myxoid degenerative signal is seen within the posterior horn, lateral meniscus. There is a mild thickening of the medial collateral ligament, suggestive of underlying chronic change. There is no acute injury to the collateral ligaments. No significant effusion is seen.

My orthopedic surgeon has recommended surgury to repair damage to knee. Is there any exercise program/treatment that I can try prior to surgury? I can walk with some pain mostly on the inside part of my left knee. After sitting for a long period, or sleeping, my knee seems to lock and pain increases. Once I stretch my leg and flex my foot up and down, the locking/pain gets better. It should be noted that my knee problem worsened about 10 days ago when I hyperextended my knee.

Please advise.


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Aug 05, 2008
Rehab may help some...
by: Bart - SII

Rehabilitation may be able to alleviate some of your problems - helping you to walk with less pain and strengthening your leg muscles - but from the locking symptoms you describe, surgery may be your best option.

If you have a piece of the meniscus that is moving into the joint space, this will cause the mechanical locking, and can be painful. Surgery is really the only way to remove the torn piece and free up the joint.

If you want to try rehab, that is not unheard of - ask for a referral to a PT or ATC and get a few treatment visits - if that is going to work, it should be evident fairly quickly how you will respond. You may see significant improvement, or it will solidify the fact that you need surgery.

Hope this helps - comment back with other questions.

Dec 21, 2010
I should have had surgery
by: Anonymous

In Aug. 2008, I tore my meniscus (anterior horn). The MRI also found a small Baker's cyst and mild to moderate chondromalacia. I had scheduled the surgery but didn't do it. Now (12/2010) I have 2 meniscus tears, a tear in the gastrocnemius, tendinosis of the semimembranosus, Grade 3 chondromalacia, a 4.1 cm Baker's cyst which has become quite painful. I had that aspirated yesterday as my knee keeps getting worse and worse but that didn't help with pain. Last night the pain was a 10. My patella used to creak but now it catches about 30-40 times while extending or bending my knee. I can go on and on but I'm thinking I should have had the surgery before and I wouldn't be going through what I am now. I am on crutches, have difficulty with standing, walking, squatting, driving. My knee is very unstable. Surgery is back on the table but my ortho wants to try hyaluronic acid injections first. If you can afford the time off and have help around the house and getting around, consider the surgery.

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