Slow recovery following three surgeries for torn meniscus

Patient

Q: I am 24 yrs old, and since Feb 2011 i have had thee knee scopes, my first was to fix a tear in my meniscus, after the swelling decreased my knee cap had started to slip, after no help from that doc I went to get a second opinion, my second doc then suggested to go in and see if she could find anything, she ended up fixing apart of another tear and cleaning out over 100 pieces of debris, I was hopeful that would work but again after a decrease in swelling I still had the slipping and then it had started to become stuck when I would walk, it felt as if the bones were rubbing together, she then suggested that we do a lateral release which I had on April 25th, now a week and a half later it has started to slip and the muscle which had been cut severely protrudes out and is more painful than ever, all my x-rays, CT scans and MRIs show nothing, do you have any ideas what is wrong or what I could do next, and is it normal for that muscle to be that large, I have done everything I was supposed to, using crutches, ice, rest, elevation and therapy, please help.

Doctor

A:   I understand your frustration. You should know that meniscus injuries are difficult to recover from. The rehabilitation following surgery will be long and tedious. Unfortunately, the meniscus does not regenerate after surgery. Thus the rehabilitation phase is aimed at strengthening the muscles and ligaments that stabilize the knee joint. You have had the necessary surgical procedures. It is still too early to expect your knee to function normally. I urge you to continue with physical therapy and other treatments recommended by your surgeon. As the swelling reduces and the muscles strengthen your pain will decrease and knee stability will improve. Try to be a little more patient. Best of luck!

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