My knee story:
When I was 14 yrs old, I hurt my knee very badly while playing tennis. After investigation, I was given two options: Surgery or Management. I was also advised that surgery could leave me with a permanent limp.
I decided against surgery.
After rest, painkillers and physio rehab, I continued to be an active young adult, and followed the doc's orders on how to 'manage' my knee.
There were often painful stretches of time, but I was young and worked very hard on my quads and core so that I could protect the patella and my lumbar discs (because if you have knee problems, you usually start relying on your back).
I managed it so well I became a certified fitness instructor, and did this successfully for several years. Often, I would wear an elastic bandage when training & teaching, and I was also advised by my Orthopedic surgeon to wear a ridiculously looking and expensive knee support (I bought it and probably wore it twice.)
Alas.. it caught up with me eventually, and I've had surgery twice on my left knee, and also back surgery. All successful, no limp
My point is.. I had been very active and fit from a young age, and continued to be even after the knee problem.
I still am.