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I’m jogging again, thanks to a successful operation and targeted muscle development training.
I leaned over to one side and heard a slight cracking sound in my knee. At first I didn’t think much of it. I’m an amateur athlete and I presumed it was just the joint. I’m passionate about kung fu and jogging, so I’m familiar with these sorts of sounds. “That will just go away by itself,” I told myself. It happened while I was sitting cross-legged on the floor, playing with my young daughter. We were on summer holidays in Spain. But after a while the stabbing pain still hadn’t gone away and my knee was constantly swollen. Elevating my leg and cooling the joint helped temporarily, but the more I used my knee, the more it hurt.
After we arrived back home, I visited my family doctor. After an initial consultation, he referred me to a specialist at the Ortho Aarau centre. The orthopaedic specialist ordered an MRI to confirm his suspicion that I had a torn meniscus. The cracking sound I had heard was my meniscus tearing.
The orthopaedic specialist advised me to have the damaged part removed to prevent the cartilage from tearing any further. Any pressure or strain that I put on my knee would make the tear bigger. The aim was to cut out as little of the meniscus as possible, while making sure that the end of the tear was completely removed.
I had minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery with regional anaesthesia at Hirslanden Klinik Aarau, and I was able to follow the procedure live on a screen in the OR. I found it really interesting and naturally I wanted to know what was happening down there. Two small incisions were necessary to insert a tiny camera and the surgical instruments. Before the torn piece of cartilage was cut out with scissors, the orthopaedic surgeon filled the knee joint with fluid to create more space. Finally, the detached cartilage and the fluid were removed using one of the tubes involved in the operation. The procedure took around 30 minutes. Barely an hour later, I was back on the ward chatting to my room-mate. My brief two-day stay was very pleasant.
Targeted muscle development training after the meniscus operation
My main goal was to start exercising again, in particular, to go jogging. I did physiotherapy at Hirslanden Training, a public healthcare centre that offers endurance and strength training, preventative courses and rehabilitation. I was given exercises to build up my muscles, as I had been on crutches for a couple of weeks after the operation. I was able to start doing some “light” kung fu just two months after the operation, but I had to wait around three to four months before I could start jogging again now and then. My second goal, to take part in the Lake Hallwil Run, had to be postponed – not due to my knee, but because my wife gave birth to our second daughter and I didn’t have enough time. But I’ll definitely compete in the 42.195 km Aargau Marathon on 1 May 2016 as part of a two-person team.
Hirslanden’s online editorial team would like to thank Michele Parente (34) for sharing his patient story with us.