Return to Running after Multiple Surgeries for Meniscus Tears

What is your story about?
I've injured and had surgery to repair my meniscus multiple times. My recovery approach involved gradually increasing volume and weight with unilateral leg training. Ultimately, I was able to go from surgery to running a 5k in just 6 months.
What is your meniscus injury history?
I've torn mine twice. First time was when I was around 12. It went undiagnosed for a long time, until about age 19. Wiped out on a jungle gym, heard a crunch, couldn't walk, but it "healed up" in a few days. Occasionally though, I'd crouch down to do something (tie my shoes, pick something up off the floor) and it'd lock up. Stuck at about a 135 degree angle, almost straight but still a little bent. And it would stay stuck like that for a day. Pretty debilitating, and it would just happen randomly. 360 days of the year it was fine, no pain, but those other 5 were terrible. It started getting ...(more)
What was your recovery experience like?
For whatever reason, the physio I ended up at felt relatively useless, so I decided to do some research and venture out on my own. It took a month or so before I felt good enough to start going to the gym. First order of business was to figure out what I could reasonably do. Started with super light weight, and even if I successfully did all of the reps I planned, I quit for the day. After getting a decent idea of what I could do without hurting myself again, I started focusing on rebalancing my strength. I'd been favouring my left leg for a while, so I started doing all of the exercises with ...(more)
What was the timeline for returning to running?
All told, I had the surgery in November, and ran a 5k the following May. I would have probably run a bit earlier, but it's Canada and I didn't want to slip in the snow. Most of my run practice leading up to that was treadmill in April and early May. Since the surgery, I've done a lot of running, hiking, cross country skiing, snowboarding, etc etc, and everything's been awesome. Just no more downhill skiing :)