I'm happy to report I've started running again. Very slowly and not very far on the beach (wet firm sand). As described in the MCL Issues thread, I was having a great time doing long trail runs in February and hurt the menisci in both knees. MRI revealed a bit of arthritis as well.
I couldn't run, had to cut way back on hiking, wore knee braces all the time, and started riding a bike a lot more. I got one round of shots in both knees, which helped a lot. When my long-planned Sierra Nevada backpacking trip came up late summer I did a steroid treatment that was something like 6 pills the first day, 5 the next 4, the next, etc. It didn't seem to help because I had pain with every step, but I wasn't swelling up at the end of the day. Still did several 15-ish mile days.
Lately I don't feel pain all the time, so I've pushed myself on some good hikes and started running a little. It seems like trying to maintain a level of activity and mostly time is healing my knees. I did physical therapy in the beginning and tried to find exercises to help, but those lame exercises recommended (quad sets, clamshells, etc) didn't help, and mostly I don't have the patience to sit on the floor for an extended period of time doing low intensity exercises.
Running hurt at first, but didn't cause swelling, so I've kept at it slowly. Running makes my whole being feel better and was sorely missed during this frustrating and depressing year.
Yesterday I drove past a local mountain that I always said was my favorite run (and the last run I did before breaking down). I thought soon I could try to run to the top, which sounds daunting right now. But I'll probably never try to run down it again.
Wishing you luck with the gradual return. Do you do regular weight training? I ask because if the low-intensity PT exercises didn’t make a difference, maybe you can add resistance to them to get the benefit by cautiously raising the intensity. Sounds like the pt gave you a bunch of hip-stabilizing exercises, which can really help your knees.