The ‘Ole Knee: Part 1

Ok, for the record. I am not old. At least not by my standard and that’s what counts. Just my knees are old.

My knee thinks it’s 80 years old. After years of ballet, pointe shoes, and too many grand jetés….well, you get the picture. Also, it did not further help matters when a snowboarder accidentally fell in front of me 3 years ago when I was headed down the slope, picking up speed like a bullet train and then coming to a complete and sudden stop and twisting my left knee at the same time. Ouch, is the least I can say and I was unable to run for a few months. It was my first time ever skiing and apparently, the last time as well.

Fast forward to late August this year. It was a typical Florida summer afternoon. Rain was pouring down during about 10 minutes of our ultimate frisbee game, the first one we had played in a while due to incredibly insane summer temperatures that discouraged even the most courageous Floridians from being outside. For the record, I was not trying to be awesome for this next part of the story. As I was running diagonally up the field towards the goal to try and catch the pass from a teammate, I took a vertical jump that would put any of my previous jumps to shame. Remember it was raining? That meant the grass was extremely slippery. Next thing I know, I’m landing on my left leg and my knee goes POP. Really loud. So loud, that in fact, the closest people to me who were about 15-20 ft. away heard that POP. I was immobile. I knew something bad happened that instant, especially when I usually shake things off and get up right away. I had my husband and another guy carry me to the car, where my knee was rapidly swelling and hurting like it never hurt before.

I went to my primary doctor the next day and got X-rays done. Nothing showed broken so I was “cleared”. The problem was that my knee kept hurting and not getting any better. Then I tried running on it a few weeks later, when I could finally get some bend in my knee. I ran for about 2 minutes down the street before my knee was in horrible pain and I could barely walk back home. I took it upon myself to go see an orthopedic doctor about my knee. He ordered an MRI and below are some pictures of the results (click on each image to enlarge and be able to read small red print):

Torn medial meniscus
Intact PCL
Torn ACL

Official MRI findings:
There is an oblique full-thickness tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus [and] it appears to extend into the posterior junction as well. 
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is torn and disrupted or nearly disrupted off the femoral origin. Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is intact. 

I have two options. Option one is to leave my knee as is and forget ever being active (other than walking) the rest of my life. This option would most likely cause early onset of arthritis due to leaving the torn meniscus in my knee, among various other issues. Option two is to have surgery, reconstructing the torn ACL and cleaning up the torn meniscus. This option would allow (after recovery and months of rehab) me to resume activity pre-torn ACL/meniscus.

Little did I know how much my life would change from one instant to the next but then again, isn’t that how life usually goes?

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