Tear > Treatments
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:
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin
or ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.
your knee for about 20 minutes every three or four hours
for the first few days, or until pain and swelling have
your knee elevated above your heart level to restrict
the flow of blood into the joint.
compression, such as an elastic wrap or bandage, to
keep swelling down.
crutches to keep weight off your knee.
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:
and extend your knee without pain.
as if your injured knee is as strong as your other knee.
and sprint without limping.
and cut without pain at 45- and 90-degree angles while
off both legs and off your injured leg without pain.
strengthening exercises: Cartilage injuries
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:
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.
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.
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-fitting athletic shoes can reduce the impact of
the load exerted on the knee.
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.