I had a meniscectomy surgery one month ago, after months struggling with pain during running since last summer. The surgery was pretty light and the part of the meniscus that has been removed quite small, so now that I feel good I’m planning to gradually restart running next week, in agreement with the orthopedic doctor. But he suggested me to avoid strength exercises that put too much pressure (in his opinion) on knee joints and cartilage, above all squats.
I’m a bit confused, since squats, lunges and those type of exercises are one of the main resource to train legs strength, and for a trail runner that lives in a flat city like me are almost the only way to simulate uphills and partially train the specific requests of mountain running. Every strength training plan contains those type of exercises.
What is your opinion? Could it be correct to avoid squats, lunges and jumps for a “weak” knee? If yes, what other exercises can I use to train legs strength? Can isometric exercises be a solution or they will be too light?
Let me specify that this meniscus injury had probably nothing to do with running, and instead it is linked with a soccer accident occured 10 years ago, after which I had a MRI that showed exactly that meniscus rupture. From that time, and after adequate rest, I had no issues for the subsequent years (even if I almost stopped sports for other reasons).
Since I started to run 4 years ago I have been able to train and race for years (40-50 kms/week with 20k to 50k trail races) and my knee was never an issue, until last summer when the pain restarted. Interesting that this happened after the 4-5 months with less running of my short career (because of lockdowns for pandemic) and with much more strenght training than usual performed indoor.
For those reasons I’m worried that the change in training routine and the strength training I did in the first months of 2020 have a role in my injury, turning on again the meniscus issue after years without pain.