View Full Version : Cartilage under knee / surgery advice needed

-14th July 2015, 19:59
Apologies if this shouldn't be here or should not be a separate post but I wondered if anyone here has any experience with knee surgery and fencing, particularly with regards to cartilage under the knee.

Firstly I'm 24 and have had knee pain for some years. I saw a physiotherapist today who after much twisting and pressure found it to not be anything wrong with my legs, but a cartilage problem with both my knee caps. She has given me a 6-8 week program to follow, but if my knees don't improve she has suggested going to my GP, asking for an MRI and ultimately surgery.

I'm not sure what to do really. I believe she has made the correct diagnosis but she doesn't have much knowledge on fencing as a sport or fencing movement. Part of me feels like avoiding surgery would be the best thing but I really wouldn't want to have it done further down the line as I improve. Since cartilage never improves through exercises I fear I am only prolonging the inevitable - but from what I have read in 5-10 years there may be better operations they will be able to perform.

Anyway, feel free to give me some advice/experience/information (no liability for anyone!).


-14th July 2015, 20:16
I think going to your GP for a referral to an Orthopaedic Surgeon (this does not mean you are going to have surgery, or that they will choose surgery as first line of treatment) who specialises in knees and sports injuries is a good idea. The Orthopaedic Surgeon can arrange an MRI and interpret the results and then give advice regarding fencing and your diagnosis. Good luck.

-14th July 2015, 22:44
1 - a friend who had keyhole surgery and forgot to take slippers so ended up strolling along to the operation in her gown and cowboy boots - yeeha - doesn't do fencing but does work out and is absolutely fine even though she is far too big for a leotard

2 - a friend who did fencing at commonwealth level who won't go back to the doctor and can't fence and he's only early 20's - and no amount of pumping bags of sugar whilst watching the telly helps

3 - a friend who started fencing in his 40's and soon found it difficult but was told he was too old to have surgery

they all had/have problems with gritty bits behind the knee cap - probably best to find out exactly what the problem is - alternatively high heels and cod liver oil tablets but that's not always easy during a fight - good luck

-16th July 2015, 14:19
Thanks for the replies.

Am told it's a form of Chondromalacia patellae


-21st July 2015, 04:01
From my own experience.

Knee problems can be aggravated by being overweight, bad form, or over use of certain muscle groups.

I fied my form by working with a National Coach who was very strict on having textbook form for footwork and lunges.

I also developed runners knee due to my doing way to many squats and not enough hamstring work and stretching. I had to learn to stretch the proper way even if it meant I only went 1 inch.


-17th January 2016, 20:57
My 10 year old daughter who has been fencing competitive for the last 2 years and going strong had always complaint about her aching knee. I thought that with some deep heat, massage or ice pack it would go away. Good Knee braces even seeing a therapist. The pain progressively gotten worse that we seek medical advice - an X-ray and MRI later it was discovered that she has a tumour (non cancerous) growth on the side of her knee. Like a tiny olive branch which was part of her growth. So with every excertion (like in a lunge) pressure would apply and swelling would ensue. Short of having surgery (30 mins job) and up to 2 weeks recovery was suggested but the decision would all down to how much pain she can bear.

Best advice is that if the pain persist - go check it out before its too late.

-17th January 2016, 22:31
There is an outstanding American knee specialist who has sorted out many top tennis players and US ski team members. His name is Dr Kevin Stone and he is based in San Francisco. You can find details here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_R._Stone. He only does knees and he has a clinic devoted to the joint with the latest technology and physiotherapy in the same building. He sorted out my ACL 15 years ago, and that knee is now stronger than the one on my uninjured leg. Having it fixed was the best thing I ever did. But he is a long way from the UK. My advice would be to find his equivalent in Britain.

-21st January 2016, 20:47
My leg locked at 90 degrees ( i'd had a small cartilage tear but ignored and carried on fencing ), it stayed locked until the anaesthetist put me under. I can only say, get it cleaned up !
any loose cartilage in sinovial capsule, or attached bits not in correct position, and you risk compounding the injury. If the articulation isn't functioning correctly then it can lead to a compounding injury like a cruciate ligament tear. These ( typically ACL rupture ) are not good, and not easily fixable.

The word excruciating comes from this type of injury ( as, in ye olden days, it was a very common injury typically caused by rotation of the joint when falling from horse saddle ) of course in those days they couldn't fix so easily.

It is correct in posts above - don't be palmed off by GP - get a sports specialist knee consultants advice and MRI.

Kind regards

-9th February 2016, 02:31
Thanks for the replies.

Am told it's a form of Chondromalacia patellae


What was the outcome?

-9th February 2016, 13:23
I was told I had chondromalacia patella when I was 17 after years of knee pain, and in the 10 years since then I've had the 'replacement' conversation twice. Unfortunately, I'm not able to have an MRI so all they were able to use to diagnose me was what they could see in front of them (I would push for an MRI to ensure there isn't anything sinister going on).

This time last year I had a severe bout of knee pain, which resulted in limited movement in both knees for approx. two months. Local and NHS physios had no idea what to do, and even suggested that it could be to do with the nerves in my back. I saw a university sports physio who wasn't put off by how bad my knees were and she has shown me that my condition is completely manageable. I do exercises every day to strengthen up the muscles around my knee to make sure the patella isn't being pulled in the wrong direction and I've had to relearn how to activate the muscles in my knee and leg to avoid using the wrong muscles. Don't get me wrong, it took a while to just be able to walk without a limp and I avoid running like the plague. I've now been practically pain free for 9 months and fence without any discomfort.

TL;DR: Do physio exercises and gentle exercise and you will more than likely be fine. Don't expect a quick fix.