Degenerative Meniscus Prognosis

Looking for experiences people have had with this condition. Doesn’t sound real promising for the future from what I can find online. The doctor thinks that repairs are not that reliable but not out of the question.

Anyone had this condition? Anyone had surgery or other treatment for it?

I damaged the ACL in my left leg over 30 years ago. I didn’t realize how bad it was and didn’t seek treatment, just limped for a few weeks. About 15 years ago working out in the yard I crouched down and pain shot up my left leg. Went to the doctor and MRI revealed the ACL was severely atrophied and nearly totally severed, nothing but a thread left. I did some therapy to strengthen the leg and did pretty well for years, occasionally overworking that knee and having pain for a while.


A couple of months ago it became painful out of nowhere. Doing a lot of work on my house but not associated with any particular stress. An orthopedist has diagnosed it as a degenerative meniscus but have not had any images but X-Rays so far. He thought this was the inevitable result of the ACL tear over time. I started wearing a knee brace and that stabilized the knee until last week, eliminating the pain from the joint twisting the wrong way or bending it too far. Putting my weight on the leg hadn’t been particularly painful as long as I kept the knee straight. The doctor thought the X-Rays showed a little bit of cartilage left in the knee which was a good sign.

Then last week I put a little stress on the leg unintentionally and then it began to hurt a lot more and it became painful to put any weight on it. I am currently hobbling around with the use of a forearm crutch used like a cane. I have a cool looking Eagle Head cane but it’s less than ideal. The doctor can’t see me again until next week but I expect I’ll be getting an MRI again.

For those without a score card, ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament, one of four ligaments that basically holds together the knee joint and allows it to work.

OP, sorry I can’t say anything substantive about your problem; although both my knees hurt in different ways, I don’t think it’s from this. So I wish you the best outcome and for a treatment of some kind that works.

I’ve had a meniscus “attack” twice in my life. Doctors wanted to do the repair job. I said let’s wait a while and see if it gets better on its own. It did.
There was a study done in Finland or Sweden several years ago where a double blind test resulted in the placebo operation having had more success, as far as the participants were concerned, than those who actually had the arthroscopy done to them! Go figure!

Thanks. Hope your knees improve also.

That’s where I was at a week ago, the knee seemed to be healing but now it’s much worse. I’m in no rush to get surgery but I would like to be more mobile again. The meniscus is likely to be in bad shape now, not much cartilage left, probably multiple small injuries to it over the years. But everything did improve over time in the past so maybe I’ll get lucky.

What on earth did they do in the placebo operations? Arthroscopy is not the most invasive procedure but it still has risks.

Well I don’t know–maybe just cut the skin and sewed it back up??!

Google gives several article urls, and a video or two.

I’ve had multiple surgeries on my knees over the years, starting in the early 80’s when arthroscopic surgery was new. Meniscus repair, ACL replacement, another ACL, a PCL and a couple of clean up jobs and a bad car wreak too. I would say each operation was worth it except for one where the pig ligament “didn’t take.” I prefer an epidural over a general. The former makes it difficult to pee for a while afterward, which can be uncomfortable, and you can hear them working sometimes but the latter leaves me nauseated for days afterward.

Just passed 30 years since the last big one. Maybe I’ve had great doctors for the most part, one of them was, because my knees aren’t even in my top five old-age complaints.

My feeling is that knees are mechanical devices and they’ve pretty well figured out how to fix them, like teeth, so if your insurance will pony up and you find a doctor you like, I say get them fixed.

A less-invasive treatment option would be to get an injection of joint fluid. Synvisc or the like. Synvisc is one brand, though my ortho didn’t like it - he said he’s had to go in and clean it up surgically too many times. I think he used OrthoVisc for me.

I’ve never had ligament injuries, but do have some knee issues that include some damaged / worn out cartilage. Most of the time it’s not an issue but every now and then it’ll act up - including several very bad months back in 2010, caused by nothing we could pinpoint. The injections helped - a LOT. We thought I might have to repeat them every few months or so but it turns out that whatever the hell was going on has subsided enough that I only have occasional twinges, so it hasn’t been necessary.

Anecdotal AF but the technician doing my clotting factor finger stick told me that her mom is down to bone on bone in both knees and tried a stem cell injection–not cheap, they gave her a break on the price since it was both but still eight grand out of pocket because Kaiser does not cover stem cell therapy. Anyway, she says her mom is doing much better and is out of a wheelchair and onto a single cane, as opposed to the double canes she used before it got bad enough for a wheelchair. I filed this away for the future because I too have a fucked up meniscus in the left knee that I declined to take as far as surgery–it did improve but still isn’t 100% by any means. If it gets any worse I might have to scrape up the dough to try the stem cell thing.