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Pre-stages of osteoarthritis, desire to play basketball, any hope?

I had a while back 50% of my lateral meniscus removed after a basketball related injury. My most recent MRI shows I have mild cartilage regeneration in the lateral compartment of my knee.
I spoke to an orthopedic surgeon who told me my condition cannot yet be classified as osteoarthritis but it definitely resembles the preliminary stages of it.
Though I asked him multiple times, he wasn't quite able to tell me at what point my knee would so damaged I have to cease playing sports. 

He told me since I'm missing such a large chunk of my meniscus I could be candidate for a meniscus transplant but I should be aware that it is a highly complicated procedure and not considered a norm in orthopedics. Right now he thinks my knee is too healthy to undergo such a procedure and that I should return to normal activity, after completing my physical therapy, and see how it feels. But again, he couldn't tell me how many years down the line I would need it, which is driving me crazy. 

At this point I'm a complete mess. I'm filled with internal anxiety and pain. To me a happy life ends with the inability to play basketball like I always have. Even though it's not my job, it is my passion. There is literally nothing in this world, be it child, car, house etc that could replace the void of not being able to play basketball.

Is there any hope for me? Does any think its possible for me to play basketball for decades to come? (I'm 23)



  • hello akrm25
    please click on the welcome link below to get you started on the forum.
    welcome to arthritis-health and how to start using our system

    i know you have heard this before and you will probably hear it again, there are no guarantees in life. no doctor anywhere can predict exactly what your future holds. all they can give you is "maybe's" and advice. 
    i do not have your knee issues. so i cannot relate just to that. i do have scoliosis and a fast deteriorating spine that will not hold me up anymore. passions? i am 70 and until a few years ago i was still riding my harley, fishing and making beautiful quilts. none of which i can do anymore. but life goes on and i can either move with it or sit behind and just watch. 
    instead of worrying about how much more time you have to play basketball, play and enjoy it until you can't anymore, if that ever happens. if it does, deal with it then. listen to your body, especially those knees. it will tell you when to slack off.

    take care and hope to hear from you soon.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 129


    Are you playing college basketball or planning to play professional?  Just asking since basketball seems very important to you.

    I have had a meniscus tear, (09/21/18) and my daughter has had three surgeries for meniscus.  She first had it at 25 and continued to play softball and pickup basketball games.  At 40, now, she no longer has the desire to continue to play like that, but she played with the three surgeries and dealt with the pain.  Her doctors told her she could not really do any more damage, but that it probably would hurt.

    Keep an eye on the Osteoarthritis.  The stages will continue to grow.  Here are the stages:

    Stage 0  Classified as “normal”  The joint functions without any impairment or pain.  No treatment required
    Stage 1  Shows very minor bone spur growth.  Usually no experience any pain or discomfort.  Recommend you take supplements
    Stage 2  Considered a “mild” stage of the condition.  Bones are not rubbing or scraping one another. Start to experience pain, medications might be required, exercise recommended.
    Stage 3  Classified as “moderate” stage, Frequent pain while walking, sitting, etc, opioid medications probably required.
    Stage 4  Considered “severe.”  Great pain when moving the joints.  joint replacement surgery generally required.

    So, back to your question about being able to play for more decades.  I played softball up until I was 40 and after having 4 lumbar and 2 cervical surgeries.  It was only after having both of my shoulders and hips replaced that put a stop to that.  I could no longer perform at the level I felt I wanted to.  I am know being faced with a complete knee replacement again due to Osteoarthritis.

    OA has slowed me down, but so far it hasnt stopped me.   I can play a few holes of golf (no driving or long shots, just pitch and putt), but my joints know about it and I wil hurt for a couple of days.  But thats my choice, because I will go out and do it again.

    However, the most important aspect is if your doctor states that playing basketball will not cause more problems (forget pain)

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
     I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com  
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