5 1/2 weeks ago I played racquetball for the first time in 20 years. Felt great. 3 days later I ran my normal 5K and my left knee felt stiff when it was fully stretched out in the forward position. I kept running because there was no pain. Likewise 2 days later I ran again. After running 5 times in 9 days I was hurting. It's been 4 weeks since then with no exercise and it hasn't gotten better. So I saw a highly recommended knee surgeon today and had x-rays taken.
After looking at the x-rays and checking out my knee the knee surgeon says I most likely have a torn meniscus (cartilage). Since the medial and lateral meniscus function as shock absorbents in the knee joint this is serious. So an MRI is going to be done and then depending on the tear, probably Arthroscopic surgery (done as outpatient).
The great news is my knee is really 'good'. It has no "arthritis" (not the disease but simply mechanical wear damage). He showed me on the x-ray that my knee and bone had the perfect amount of space between them. Since my knee is so good the success rate of the Arthroscopic surgery is 85-90%. Recovery should be very quick if it's an Meniscectomy (removing the torn meniscus) but longer if he is repairing the torn meniscus. Maybe I'll know after the MRI which is needed. Or maybe not until he is operating and actually sees my meniscus. Here's a good article on Knee Arthroscopy. Here's a good short article on different types of tears, some might self heal.
Surprisingly, the doctor said I can do non-impact exercising like cycling or using an elliptical machine while I wait for the operation. Just did 22 minutes on an exercise bike in a gym with no pain. Will find out tonight and tomorrow morning if my knee agrees with that. :) (next morning, March 11, so far so good! My knee doesn't feel worse, so looks like exercise bike is fine!)
If surgery is successful I may even be able to have a safe fun 2 mile run occasionally. Though, to be safe, the vast majority of my exercise in the future will be on exercise bikes and elliptical machines. (who knows, I may even do outside road biking).
I guess the reason why my knee is so good is that I didn't do too much running. It's all about how much load you put on your knees. Here's how you calculate your load level (lower is better)
Random quotes from articles I'm reading