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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

old biddy + soccer = torn meniscus

In three weeks I'll have knee surgery to repair my torn meniscus. I am a bit nervous, but am looking forward to being more mobile again.
I hurt it while playing soccer, of course. I wish I could say that I did some extreme athletic maneuver or got tackled really hard, but this was my Monday night pickup game, and that kind of stuff doesn't happen there. No, I was nowhere near the ball or any other players. I changed direction and felt the tiniest little sensation in the back of my knee. It felt like I had just tweaked it. A second later it felt fine again.
After soccer it got very stiff and swelled up. The next morning it felt worse and clicked every time I took a step. Nonetheless, I wasn't too worried. I'd had something sort of similar happen a few weeks before in my other knee, and it went away in a few days. This time, however, after a week it wasn't getting any better so I went to the doctor. She saw the swelling and thought it was bursitis, since i had been doing a lot of kneeling during the bathroom remodel.
She told me to stop kneeling on hard surfaces and to continue playing soccer. Unfortunately, that didn't help. It got worse after I played soccer again. Eventually I got an appointment in the sports medicine department and a MRI. The diagnosis, which came a few days after my 40th birthday, was that I had a meniscus tear in the right knee and patellofemoral syndrome and a little bit of arthritis in both knees. Welcome to old biddyhood!
So now I'm waiting for arthroscopic surgery. My appointment is on St Patrick's day. I will definitely not be doing any jigs, step dancing, or Irish waltzes that night. In the meantime I'm supposed to ride the exercise bike with no resistance, swim, and lift weights. I was told not to walk on the treadmill. Soccer, biking, hiking, using the stairmaster and running are out. So are any exercises involving lunges or sideways twisting. The swimming and weightlifting aren't a problem. The exercise bike is more problematic. It made my knee feel worse and I lost a lot of leg strength. I went back to walking on the treadmill. Nonetheless, I've lost a lot of muscle and core strength and between that and the knee itself, it threw everything slightly out of kilter. I've heard that this is normal. At this point I'm just trying not to gain any weight.
I'm not sure if I'm going to go back to playing soccer or not. I enjoy it a lot, but sometimes I think it's not worth it. I stopped playing competitively about a year ago, when I landed hard on my tailbone and hurt my back. I'm going to do my best to get in shape for running and hiking and strengthen my legs. If I feel like I'm stronger than I was before I was injured, I may go back to playing in the Monday night pickup games, but I'm not going to rush it. More than the soccer itself, I miss the camaraderie.
Anyway, it's a pain but in the grand scheme of things it's pretty minor. I try to keep it in perspective. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.

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