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To Surgery or Not to Surgery?

 

The Decision That John John Florence and I Both Had to Make

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with a knee injury for the past few months. I stayed off of it for a month after I first hurt it, but I couldn’t say no to an invite to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch and ended up re-tweaking my knee there. When I got back from that trip I decided to have it looked at, and ended up getting an MRI on my knee.

The MRI showed that I had an old partial tear of my ACL and a new tear of the meniscus. I also have a new sprain of the ligaments in my knee. Meniscus and ACL injuries are pretty common among athletes. In fact, John John Florence has been dealing with issues such as this for the past two years, and missed half of this season and all of last season because of his bum knee. Lots of people have told me to get arthroscopic surgery from an orthopedic surgeon to fix my meniscus tear, but when I talked to my doctor, she told me that there are actually a couple of different options. She said that I should talk to my orthopedic surgeon when I see him in January, but to bear in mind that getting surgery for a torn meniscus doesn’t guarantee that I won’t have arthritis later in life.

My doctor sent me some interesting materials about knee surgery, and according to the research, it appears that arthroscopic surgery is somewhat controversial, particularly in patients who are 40 years old and older. First of all, partial tears of the meniscus are able to heal somewhat on their own. And secondly, even after surgery, many people don’t get enjoy a full recovery. In fact, it appears from the research that there isn’t must statistical evidence that surgical treatment is more effective than conservative treatment in older patients, particularly with degenerative meniscal tears, which are often what older adults suffer from.

This gave me a lot to think about, but also a lot of interesting information to learn about, as I didn’t really know much about the knee and the efficacy of arthroscopic surgery before this experience. Even though I am not stoked to be injured, I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to learn more, and am hoping that conservative treatment can help my knee get back into fighting shape, so I can get back in the water soon!

Here’s hoping that all of you are healthy as this new year begins, and scoring waves wherever you might be!

 

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