Knee > Meniscus Tear > Treatments


Home Recovery

Some minor meniscal tears can heal on their own, without surgery. If your physician has determined that this is the case, he may recommend rest and physical therapy while he observes your knee's recovery. Your surgeon may check your progress every three to four weeks, and will usually ask you if you are continuing to have pain, or any locking or clicking in the knee. He will check the location of your pain, the amount of swelling, and your range of motion. If your pain or swelling does not improve within six to eight weeks and a meniscus tear is suspected, he may suggest arthroscopy to better evaluate the injury. It is important to maintain full range of motion during the recovery period. If you lose the ability to fully straighten and bend the knee, then you will require physical therapy or arthroscopic surgery to regain motion. There are several ways to reduce your pain and discomfort if you have suffered a meniscus tear:

   Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.

   Ice your knee for about 20 minutes every three or four hours for the first few days, or until pain and swelling have dissipated.

   Keep your knee elevated above your heart level to restrict the flow of blood into the joint.

   Use compression, such as an elastic wrap or bandage, to keep swelling down.

  Use crutches to keep weight off your knee.

Rehabilitation [top]

Your goal in rehabilitating your knee from a meniscus tear is to maintain range of motion and strength, and to be able to resume the sports and activities you enjoy. To achieve this, you will most likely have to curtail activities that put stress on your knee joint for at least six weeks. Returning too soon could cause permanent damage to your meniscus. Following are some signs to watch for in determining if you are ready to return to action.

You should be able to:

   Flex and extend your knee without pain.

   Experience no swelling.

   Feel as if your injured knee is as strong as your other knee.

   Jog and sprint without limping.

   Stop and cut without pain at 45- and 90-degree angles while running.

   Jump off both legs and off your injured leg without pain.


   Knee strengthening exercises: Cartilage injuries

Prevention [top]

Though many meniscus injuries occur during sports and are difficult to avoid, there are several steps you can take to improve the overall strength and flexibility of your knee:

   Manage your weight. Every pound in excess of your normal weight puts three or four additional pounds of pressure on your knee every time you take a step.

   The hamstrings, in the back of the thigh, and quadriceps, the muscles in the front of the thigh, are crucial shock and impact absorbers. These muscles must be kept strong and flexible to protect the joint surfaces in your knee.

   Stretching before exercising should be a regular part of your warmup; however, it is important not to over-stretch. Never push or pull on your leg with your hands while you are stretching, and avoid squatting during your warmup, which can put stress on your knee joint.

   Well-cushioned, well-fitting athletic shoes can reduce the impact of the load exerted on the knee.

   If you are engaging in activities that require a lot of twisting and turning such as racket sports, skiing, soccer, and basketball, do not assume you can play yourself into shape; make sure you are in good physical shape before you play.

Arthroscopic Repair
   Home Recovery
Partial Meniscectomy
Total Meniscectomy

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