February 03rd, 2011
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So I went for the MRI on my knee on Sunday night (after a broken machine caused me to reschedule!) and had my follow-up appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon yesterday. It turns out that my knee pain isn’t due to a meniscus tear, but due to some degeneration within the meniscus. Apparently the meniscus isn’t designed to last forever, but this degeneration doesn’t generally start until people are over the age of 30 and primarily starts in people who are around 50-60 years old. My situation seems similar to this guys, I think. The doctor explained it like a jelly donut, where the outside of the meniscus seemed alright, but it was the inside that had deteriorated a bit. Not the most uplifting news in the world!

The good news was that it wasn’t a tear and there is no need (or would be no benefit) for surgery at the moment. The doctor recommended physical therapy, which I start next Wednesday. I’m hoping that with the therapy it can start to get better, since I can’t imagine that I’ve already reached the peak of my meniscus! In the meantime maybe I’ll test out a few different styles of knee braces to see if they help. There’s also some patella (knee cap) tendon pain as well, so maybe the braces can help out with that as well.

While researching this condition, I did stumble across another condition called a meniscus contusion, which someone asked about on a Runner’s World forum. I know the doctor is the expert, but for some reason a meniscal contusion sounds better to me than meniscal degeneration…so maybe that’s what I’ll convince myself I have.

I want to get back out running, but the weather has been so bad around here lately that I don’t feel quite as bad about not getting out there. When the weather warms up though, I know I’ll be Jonesin’ pretty bad.

Anyways, now I can add meniscal degeneration (contusion?) to posterior tibial tendon dysfunction as my current ailments affecting my running career. How come I can’t get normal (or NO) injuries!!!


  1. Urgh. I am sorry to hear this – but, like you said, I'm glad it's not a tear.

    Take care of yourself, Brandon!

    • Brandon says:

      I'm starting to realize that the main issue is some tendinitis in my patella tendon. The meniscal degeneration, while not great, was probably just something he noticed while doing the MRI. I'm guessing it's due to my PT tendon issues, which caused me to run a way where I put more force on my left leg, probably wearing down the meniscus. Thanks for the well wishes though!

  2. Rachna Mishra says:

    hey..read about ur condition..I hope ur getting better..actually the reason I want to learn about meniscus degeneration is because I'v recently came to know through MRI that I have one in my left knee..the docs here in India are singing more about surgery..although I have done physiotherapy for 20 days, the condition is 60% better..can i learn about how is ur condition improving?

    • Brandon says:

      Rachna, it turned out that the real issue for the pain/discomfort I was feeling was due to inflammation in the patella tendon. The meniscus degeneration was something they noticed when they did the MRI. At the moment I'm not sure it's causing any problems, but after a full year of running on it we'll see what happens. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it has repaired itself a bit over the past couple months and/or the Glucosamine supplements I'm taking are helping at least a bit. Good luck with your condition and if I find any other news or learn anything more about my own condition, I'll be sure to let you know!

  3. Josh says:

    So, how are you now?

    I too was diagnosed witha degenerated meniscus in 3/2011. The outsides were OK, no tear, but inside there were some “signals” that showed interior degeneration. The symptoms of such degeneration in my case are the inability to squat all the way down and a sensation of bone on bone when landing hard on my heel. I have changed my jogging style to the Pose/Chi method (landing on the balls of my feet to decrease pressure on the knee) and it is helping, but the menisci are still not all OK.

    • Brandon says:

      Josh, when I was diagnosed with meniscus degeneration, I also had some inflammation in my patella tendon (possibly patella tendon syndrome.) Anyways, after taking a couple months off from running over the winter, my patella tendon healed and I’ve been running ever since, including my first marathon this year. I honestly have no idea if the meniscus degeneration is still there or if it ever really heals, but I don’t notice any pain from it so for now I’m just hoping it’s not getting any worse. After running a bit barefoot and in minimalist shoes, my running form changed a bit as well and I think the way I run these days is causing a lot less impact on my knees. Not sure I’m in the same exact boat as you, but good luck with your situation!

  4. Josh says:

    Thank you for your response. Glad to hear that you are back to running.

  5. Jason says:

    Try prolotherapy