Knee update and plans

Knee Anatomy

Since I went off trail due to my knee injury I have seen an Orthopedic Doctor, had X-Rays and MRI’s and discussed the results.

First some background: Roughly a month ago I was crossing a creek called “East Bear Trap Creek” while backpacking the PCT.  It was not a large creek, and had rocks for hopping across without getting wet; Something I’ve done literally hundreds of times before.

But I was careless, stepped wrong and went down.  Hard.  My left knee took the biggest hit on a rock as I went down on the front of it.  Got a good goose egg on my forehead as well.

After picking myself up (With help from friends) I realized I could still walk pretty well.  Thinking I was just mostly bruised, I kept going.  Have to finish the trail, right?

After a few days it became clear the knee was getting worse, but I wanted to see if it was something I could “Live with”.

We were doing 15-17 miles a day and after 60+ miles reached Burney State Park.  By this time I was popping Ibuprofen every few hours and it hurt to walk without the pack.  So I took a cab to the town of Burney and purchased a knee wrap.  It felt wonderful!  That and after the Zero day I was walking pretty well with no pain.

Gee, I thought, it’s only 90 miles to the next town.  Maybe I can do this!

Yes, dear readers: Denial is not just a river in Africa.  After the second day it was clear the knee was still in a lot of pain.  But, we have a rule: Never go backwards!  (It’s silly, but there ya go)

I finally limped slowly into Dunsmure and took the Amtrak home.

The results of the MRI showed I have a stress fracture along the top of the Tibia.  I also have a torn meniscus on the inside of the knee.

Torn Meniscus

So I hiked 150 miles on a broken leg.  The doctor had a few choice words to say to that I won’t repeat here…

It will take 6 weeks for the bone to heal enough before I can have surgery to repair the torn meniscus. Then it’s weeks after that for therapy.  And I have to somehow stay off of it during this time!

Aaaargh!  There goes my summer!  Basically, I will NOT be back on trail for 2-3 months.  So my dream of finishing the PCT this year is likely over…

But I also realize that I was lucky.  The knee is repairable and I WILL be able to hike again!  So for that I am grateful that my poor choices didn’t cause me more harm.

I will update the blog infrequently as healing progresses.  Meanwhile, my friend Turtle has made it to Etna and already move on.  My prayers are with him.  Go Turtle!


9 thoughts on “Knee update and plans

  1. Take it slow and easy for a while, the trail will be there next year.
    Kick back and enjoy your bird feeder and trailer.
    Be well

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh Mike, SOOoo glad that the knee is repairable! Now you’ll have time for working on your memoir … and perhaps even a little to your Aunt Jean! We see you’re smiling face daily as the framed picture of your as the “sheriff” is in the living room.
    Take care.
    Aunt Jean

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Mike,
    Hoping for a speedy recovery. Is driving the RV out? The Professor says your a pretty tough guy to walk a 150 miles on a broken leg. The power of the Advil was with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luckily it was my left leg, so driving is not impaired. Camping is still tough, since I want to SEE and experience things and sitting in a campground is frustrating…


  4. Michael, We all know you don’t prefer to be stuck inside, but if you want to heal correctly you need to stay put. Force yourself. Wishing you a full recovery. It’s fortunate you can still drive. You are so lucky others were around to assist you when things went wrong. We all care about you. Now be on your best behavior…

    Liked by 1 person

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