Meniscal Tear of the Knee FAQs

What is a meniscus?

Meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage disc, which is present one on either side of the knee joint.  There is one on the inside and one on the outside. It is attached to the bone of the tibia or the leg bone in the front and the back by its roots.  It is also attached on its periphery to the capsule of the knee joint.

These discs are in between the condyles of the thigh bone and the leg bone that is the femur and the tibia one on each side.  The meniscus receives its nutrition from the blood supply from its periphery. This blood supply diminishes towards the inside of the meniscus. The most inside part of the meniscus is relatively avascular. That is, they do not get much of blood supply and nutrition and therefore the healing potential is very limited.

What is the function of a meniscus?

The meniscus is a semicircular cartilaginous disc in between the condyles of the thigh bone and the leg bone. They help in smooth movement of the knee in all directions. They also act as shock absorbers and take away the stresses that would otherwise be passed on from the thigh bone on to the leg bone or in reciprocity and would have led to stress reaction and fractures and development of arthritis.  The menisci are an essential part of the knee joint in the absence of which early arthritis can set in inside the knee.

How does meniscus tear happen?

The meniscus is torn usually due to a twisting injury on the knee most commonly when it is landed on the ground and there is a strong twisting force with or without an unequal force on either side.  The meniscus gets caught in between the two condyles of the thigh and leg bone and is not able to move with the joint and hence gets torn either in the substance or at its root or at its periphery from the capsule. Aging of the meniscus also makes it brittle and predisposed to tearing.

What are the symptoms of a meniscus tear in the knee? What does a meniscus tear feel like?

Usually, a sudden onset or injury to the meniscus presents with swelling of the knee along with pain. The injury to the meniscus as well as the swelling causes the person to limp and not able to bear full weight on the knee. The person may not be able to fully move the knee or range the knee due to pain and swelling. 

Over a period of time of few days to weeks, the pain and swelling may decrease and may resolve, but the patient may still have feeling of instability or giving way and may have falls especially in pivoting activities, which are more often related to sports and recreational activities.

Can a torn meniscus heal itself?

A meniscus, which has a small tear especially on the periphery right by the capsule, may heal by itself because of the high vascularity of blood supply to the meniscus at the periphery. These patients may have pain along the knee joint line.

If the MRI shows such a tear, these patients can be treated nonoperatively with rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) along with restriction of activity and limitation of weightbearing.  Such meniscus usually will heal in about 3 to 6 weeks.  Young patients do well with such treatment.

How does a doctor know I have a meniscal tear?

The history, as well as a physical examination done by the physician in the office are usually suggesting of meniscal tear. An X ray is done to rule out bony injuries. An MRI is needed be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Is a torn meniscus a permanent injury?

A small tear on the periphery usually will heal by itself over time with some restriction of activity and weightbearing along with treatment. Meniscus tear, which are large and towards the center of the meniscus may not heal by itself and may stay the same for months and years together unless taken care of.

If these patients are asymptomatic then no treatment is required on most of the times, but if the symptoms are there and they persist after nonoperative treatment then an arthroscopic surgery may be required to take care of the pathology.

Is it possible for a person with torn meniscus to walk?

A torn meniscus can cause pain along with limitation and restriction of movements and feeling of giving way. The pain is usually worsened with activity especially twisting and turning. The patient can still bear weight on the knee, though it may aggravate the symptoms and cause pain.

Can a torn meniscus get worse over time?

A torn meniscus which has not been treated may lead to further tearing as well as may lead to articular cartilage damage causing early onset or rapid acceleration of arthritis and worsening of the knee symptoms in the future. The knee may stay quiet for some time but may get aggravated with subtle injuries and lead to aggravation and symptomatic knee.

Can a torn knee meniscus heal with rest and proper nutrition?

Meniscal tears, which are in the periphery and are small can heal by itself over time by following rest, ice, compression and elevation along with anti-inflammatory medications. Good nutrition is always helpful in optimization of healing environment in the body. The patient can also use a brace and crutches to unload the knee for optimal recovery.

Does a lock knee always have to be torn meniscus?

There can be multiple reasons for a lock knee, which include torn meniscus, large cartilage flap, acute injury, loose body or loose bodies in the knee among others.  An x-ray and an MRI may be helpful to find out the real cause.

Is it possible to have a meniscus injury and not know it?

It is possible to have a meniscal tear or injury and being asymptomatic. Patients may have meniscal tear and may not have any pain or swelling for a long period of time. Even if it is diagnosed by an MRI, if the patient has no symptoms then usually no treatment is needed. 

Can a meniscus tear provoke knee locking?

Large meniscus tear or complex meniscus tear may get stuck between the condyles of thigh and leg bone and cause locking. This process is usually very painful and may last from a few minutes to hours. The patient may have to be seen by a physician in emergency room for proper management. 

What is maceration of medial meniscus?

Sometimes the medial meniscus usually in the back part or in the inner edge may be crushed continuously or chewed up between the two condyles such meniscus tear may present like a maceration on arthroscopic surgery.  They are usually treated by cleanup or debridement of the meniscus.

What is the best thing to do for a suspected meniscal tear?

If the patient had a twisting injury followed by knee pain and swelling, they should rest, ice, compress it with an Ace wrap or a knee soft brace and elevate.  hey can also take anti-inflammatory medications to relieve the pain and swelling.

If the pain and swelling does not get better in a couple of days, they should seek medical attention by seeing an orthopedic surgeon with sports fellowship background. They may need x-ray and MRI to confirm the diagnosis. The management of the meniscal tear may be needed if the patient is symptomatic.

Can I still play football with a removed meniscus?

Patients who undergo partial removal of meniscus can play football as well as participate in other recreational activities in usual fashion and at a preinjury level most of the time.  This is usually done after a proper rehabilitation following the recovery from the arthroscopic surgery.

What is the relation of age to treatment of meniscus tear?

Age has a predominant effect in planning of treatment of meniscus tear. Patients who are young are preferably treated with repair of meniscus as compared to patients who are old in which a repair is likely to fail a meniscus repair to help in preservation of the meniscus and that subsequently leads to preservation of anatomy and delay or prevention of development of arthritis.  

Can ACL and Meniscus tear be treated without surgery?

Young population and patients who are active and who do not have advanced arthritis in the knee should ideally be treated with surgical management for repair or reconstruction of the ACL along with repair or excision of the meniscus to give optimal results as well as prevent or delay development of arthritis in the knee. 

Patients who are of old age and who have advanced arthritic changes in the knee are not good candidates for repair, reconstruction or cleaning up surgery of the meniscus and they may need knee replacement surgery in the near future

Does a meniscus regrow after trimming or cleanup surgery?

Meniscus are usually trimmed on the inner edges and these are the places, which do not have good blood supply.  They do not grow back over time and remain shortened.  If there is enough meniscus left, they still act as good shock absorbers and help in smooth gliding and movement of the knee and thereby preventing or delaying development of arthritis as compared to the patient who has complete excision of meniscus.

Will the meniscus ever grow back in the knee?

Meniscus once excised usually does not grows back. Patients who have to undergo complete excision of the meniscus may be candidate of meniscus transplant surgery, especially if they are young and active so as to prevent or delay the development of arthritis in the knee.  

What is a meniscus root?

A meniscus root is the front and back end of the meniscus, which are attached strongly to the bone and give a strong foundation to the meniscus. Meniscus is also loosely attached to the capsule on the periphery.

What is meniscus root tear?

Sometimes the meniscus may be avulsed from the bony attachment more so from the back. Such detachment makes the meniscus incompetent and causes pain, swelling as well as locking and feeling of giving way or instability. If a meniscus root is left unrepaired then there are high chances of development of arthritis in the near future and the patient may need a knee replacement surgery soon. 

For the same reason, it is always preferred to repair the root, especially if the patient does not have arthritic changes so as to prevent or delay the development of arthritis in the knee and hence the need for total knee replacement in the near future. 

What shall happen if a meniscal root tear is not repaired?

If a meniscal root tear is not repaired surgically then the patient will most likely be symptomatic with development of pain, swelling, feeling of giving way or limping as well as locking. These patients are predisposed to early and rapid onset arthritis in the knee, which may lead to the need of total knee replacement in the near future. 

Do I need to lose weight?

Weight loss has multiple effects on the body. If the patient has a higher BMI, they will always be benefited by weight loss with regards to decreasing their blood pressure, better management of diabetes as well as prevention as well as help in management of multiple musculoskeletal pain and disorders including low back pain, knee pain, hip pain, and ankle pain.

What else can I do to reduce my risk of an injury again?

Ascertaining the cause and the reason for the injury may help to be cognizant about reduction of risk of re-injury. Patients may also need to reduce weight if they are overweight. They may use a brace while doing high-risk activities to reduce the risk of injury.

Can physical therapy repair a torn meniscus?

Physical therapy to the knee can help regaining range of motion as well as strength and at the same time decreasing pain and swelling of the knee in case of torn meniscus. If the meniscus is torn on the outer aspect near the joint line, then the meniscus may heal by themselves over time. The physical therapy helps in retaining and improving the function of the knee.

How do you treat a meniscal tear?

Meniscal tear can be treated without surgery, in which patient is asked to rest, ice, use compression, as well as elevation, along with anti-inflammatory medications, with or without cortisone injection in the knee. Patients who do not get better with conservative treatment may need to undergo surgical management, in which, either the meniscus is repaired, if it is repairable, or a partial meniscectomy is performed to remove the torn part of the meniscus and balance the meniscus back to stable edges.

How to manage or treat meniscus tear? What are the treatment options of a torn meniscus?

A meniscus tear can be treated surgically or non-surgically. Nonsurgical treatment of a meniscus tear includes rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) along with restriction of weightbearing and limitation of activities. Such treatment protocol also requires physical therapy for preservation of strength and range of motion of the knee as well as rehabilitation for optimum results. 

Surgical treatment of the meniscus involves arthroscopic treatment in which the surgeon looks into the knee through camera and treats the pathology of the meniscus using arthroscopic instruments through another hole.  The meniscus can either be repaired or cleaned depending on the type of tear, age and characteristics of patient, demands and activities of daily living as well as recreation of the patient.

Is there any treatment for meniscus tear without surgery?

Small meniscus tear along the periphery where the meniscus is attached to the capsule can be treated without surgery, as the meniscus are very vascular and can heal there. These patients should be treated with rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) along with restriction of activity and weightbearing. 

Physical therapy should also be started, so as to allow optimum results and preservation of strength and mobility of the knee joint. Bracing can also be used for meniscus tear, so as to offload the joint during the period of healing. Anti-inflammatory medications as well as Tylenol can be used for pain on an as-needed basis.

How long does it take for the meniscus to heal by itself?

If a meniscus is in a favorable position like at the periphery of the capsule and the size is small and such meniscus can heal with nonsurgical treatment in the form of rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) along with limitation of weightbearing and restriction of activity in about 3 to 6 weeks. 

The patients usually need physical therapy during this time as well as after to rehabilitate their knee and strengthen their muscles along with reserving the range of motion of the knee for optimum results.

Are meniscal tears associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury?

The mechanism of injury of meniscus tear and ACL has similarity that they both can be caused due to twisting mechanism.  In such twisting injury, the medial meniscus tear is most commonly involved though the lateral meniscus can also be involved. 

The other reason for medial meniscus injury to be more common is because the meniscus is attached to the capsule more firmly than the lateral meniscus, which decreases the mobility of the meniscus.  In twisting injury usually, the medial meniscus is the first to be torn, which further propagates into the tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. 

In cases of anterior cruciate ligament tear we always look for meniscus injuries.  Both the ACL tear as well as medial meniscus tear can be treated simultaneously surgically by using arthroscopic techniques.  When such tears are in young patients and have a profile, which is repairable from repair of the medial meniscus is always preferred. 

How is a meniscal tear diagnosed?

A meniscal tear is usually diagnosed clinically by certain testing. Confirmation of the tear can be done by imaging like MRI. The patient who cannot undergo MRI due to reasons may need to undergo a CT scan or a CT arthrogram. 

Can a meniscal tear be missed on an MRI?

Occasionally, the MRIs are not able to pick up a meniscal tear or may not be able to delineate the morphology of the tear. The confirmatory diagnosis of meniscal tear can be made by arthroscopic surgery. Such patients, if do not get better with nonoperative treatment, are planned for arthroscopic surgery and the confirmation of tear as well as definitive management can be done at the same time. Arthroscopic visualization of the tear is a gold-standard method of diagnosis of a meniscal tear. 

Would a knee brace help for meniscal tear?

A knee brace can be used for nonoperative treatment of meniscal tear in the form of an offloading brace, which helps decreasing the weightbearing on the meniscus on the side of the tear. This can help in healing of the tear if the morphology and location of the tear is favorable. 

Knee brace can also be required for postoperative management of meniscal tear in patients who undergo meniscus repair or root repair surgery.  It helps in providing a favorable environment for the healing to happen.

Can a meniscal tear cause baker’s cyst?

Meniscal tear can be a cause of Baker’s cyst and such patients who present with Baker’s cyst should be examined and investigated for presence of meniscal tear. Management of such meniscal tear can take care of the Baker’s cyst also.

Can a meniscal tear cause hip pain or calf pain?

Meniscal tear occasionally can cause referred pain in the hip or radiating pain in the calf and patients may have more symptoms in these places rather than the knee. Good clinical exam as well as investigations can help diagnose the problem.

What is a degenerative meniscal tear?

Degenerative changes or osteoarthritis are similar pathologies, which in the setting of knee joint can cause tear of the meniscus also. The tear also happens because of the gradual dehydration of the meniscus over years leading it to be more brittle and predispose to a tear. 

If the patient has advanced degenerative changes then such patient should be treated with total knee replacement, but if the patient has early arthritic changes then arthroscopic surgery can help alleviate the symptom as well as slow down the arthritis.  

What is a bucket handle tear of the meniscus?

A bucket handle tear is usually a long tear of the meniscus from the front to the back. It usually happens in younger population and in sudden twisting injuries like those that happen during football or soccer games. These tears usually happen through the mid substance of the periphery and are repairable. 

It is best to repair these tears so as to preserve the anatomy and morphology of the knee and allow the knee to heal to a preinjury level and hence preventing or slowing down the development of arthritis in the knee.

Is it possible to keep running with the torn meniscus?

Patients with tear in their meniscus do not always have symptoms. If patient does not have any problem or symptoms due to meniscus tear, they can continue to do their activities of daily living as well as recreation including running and playing sports without restrictions.

If symptoms are preventing them from carrying out such activities, then they should consult an orthopedic surgeon preferably with sports medicine fellowship training for the optimal management and treatment of their pathology.

Is meniscus tear related to knee arthritis? Can meniscus tear happen in arthritic knee? Can arthritis lead to meniscus tear?

Meniscus tear can be a leading cause of pain in patients with early arthritis. The arthritic process can predispose to meniscus tear, which is usually on the inner side of the knee. It may be sometimes difficult clinically to separate a patient with pain due to arthritis with the patient who has pain due to meniscus tear, but MRI can be helpful in such patients. 

Also, a meniscus tear in itself can lead to acceleration or early onset arthritis of the knee due to the fact that the tear may dig into the articular cartilage and also that the lack of cushioning effect of the meniscus can lead to increased bone contact leading to early arthritis.

What is the treatment of meniscus tear associated with arthritis?

Patients who have early arthritis in the knee and have worsening of pain, which is diagnosed to be due to meniscal tear can get better by the management of the meniscal tear. In such patients, a debridement or a cleanup of the meniscus is usually performed and can give lasting results. 

Cortisone injection can also be tried in such patients with good results. Patients who have advanced arthritis or bone-on-bone arthritis may not get better with arthroscopic surgery and may be a candidate for total knee replacement. 

Is cortisone injection effective for meniscal tears?

Older population with meniscal tear associated with arthritis may get better with cortisone injection due to the anti-inflammatory effect of the cortisone. A cortisone injection can be tried in such patients with short to long-term results. Patients who do not respond well to the cortisone or who’s response does not last long may be a candidate for arthroscopic debridement or cleanup of the meniscal tear.

Is hyaluronic acid effective for meniscus tear?

Patients who have a small meniscus tear and early arthritis may be benefited by hyaluronic acid injection. A trial for hyaluronic acid injection can be done in such patients. If the injection is not effective, arthroscopic surgery may be performed to do the cleanup or debridement of the meniscus.

What is a meniscus?

Meniscus is a cartilaginous disc, which is present inside the knee joint, between the lower end of the thigh bone, called femur, and the upper end of a shin bone, called tibia. There are 2 meniscus in every knee joint, one on the inner aspect and one on the outer aspect. They help in movement of the knee joint as well as act as cushions to avoid direct impact of bone-on-bone, which may cause damage to the underlying cartilage.

How can a meniscus be torn?

The meniscus can be torn while any sudden activity of pivoting or turning. Sometimes a fall may also cause tearing of the meniscus. In patients who have age related fraying of meniscal, the tear may happen due to incidents that the patient may not even remember.

What are the symptoms of meniscal tear?

Patients with meniscal tear develop pain, along with swelling, over a period of hours to days. These patients may also have symptoms of catching, locking, or giving way. Patient may also complain of nighttime pain and discomfort, along with a limp.

How does a doctor know I have a meniscal tear?

The history, as well as a physical examination done by the physician in the office are usually suggesting of meniscal tear. An X ray is done to rule out bony injuries. An MRI is needed be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

How do you treat a meniscal tear?

Meniscal tear can be treated without surgery, in which patient is asked to rest, ice, use compression, as well as elevation, along with anti-inflammatory medications, with or without cortisone injection in the knee. Patients who do not get better with conservative treatment may need to undergo surgical management, in which, either the meniscus is repaired, if it is repairable, or a partial meniscectomy is performed to remove the torn part of the meniscus and balance the meniscus back to stable edges.

Can a meniscus tear heal on its own, without surgery?

If there is a small meniscus tear along the periphery of the meniscus, these patients may not need any surgery and over time these tears may heal by themselves. Patients who have tears do not necessarily need a surgical treatment and some can be treated without surgery with the help of rest, elevation, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, and compression. Patient can also get help with physical therapy. The treatment depends on the symptoms the patient has and the discomfort they have from it.

How long does it take for a torn meniscus to heal without surgery?

Patients with torn meniscus on the outer aspect, one of a smaller size, may take up to 6-8 weeks to heal without surgery. Patient can get help with doing physical therapy as well as anti-inflammatory medications, rest, ice, and compression.

How long does it take to recover from a meniscus injury?

Usual time for recovery from a meniscal injury is about 6-8 weeks. Patient may have limited mobility during this period. They may get help with medications like anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy.

Can you walk around with a torn meniscus?

Though torn meniscus may cause pain and swelling, but if they are under control, patient can very well ambulate as well as do usual activities of daily living. If the patient is symptomatic enough with regards to torn meniscus, then they need to see a physician for management of the torn meniscus.

How long does it take to walk again after meniscal injury?

Patients can usually walk, even with meniscal injury, though they may have symptoms of pain, catching, locking, or buckling. They may also have swelling over the knee. If patients have severe symptoms, they may use a cane or crutches to ambulate.

What happens if you leave a torn meniscus untreated?

Torn meniscus on the outer aspect of the rim which are small may heal by themselves. The other meniscus may or may not cause symptoms in the form of pain and swelling. If the patient has a considerable tear, then this tear may propagate and may restrict the activities of the patient and may propagate and increase in size over time.

How serious are meniscus tears?

Meniscus tears do cause symptoms in the form of pain, swelling, nighttime pain and discomfort, locking, catching, or buckling, depending on the size and the location of the meniscus. Patient may have no to serious symptoms and the treatment of the meniscus depends on the symptomatology that the patient has. If left untreated they may cause persistent pain and swelling in the knee.

Can you make a torn meniscus worse?

The torn meniscus may worsen with activity, especially pivoting, in which the meniscus may be caught between the two condyles and the size may increase. The patients will have worsening of symptoms in the form of pain and swelling.

What are the treatments for a meniscal tear?

Meniscal tear can be treated non-operatively in the form of rest, ice, elevation, and an anti-inflammatory medication, along with compression. Patient may also get a cortisone shot, which may help relieve the pain for some time. In patients who have symptoms which are not improved with this treatment may have to undergo arthroscopic surgery, in which the tear may be either repaired, if it is repairable, or a partial excision can be done to remove the frayed margins.

What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a surgery in which a camera with a light source is inserted through poke holes into the joint of the body to look inside. We may also other poke holes to insert arthroscopic instrument to carry out arthroscopic surgery. Arthroscopy has revolutionized the management of joint injuries by giving early rehabilitation, as well as recovery, without causing many complications that are caused by open joint surgeries.

What happens during arthroscopic surgery?

During an arthroscopic surgery, a camera with a light source is inserted into the joint of a patient through a small incisions or poke hole. Arthroscopic instruments are also inserted in the joint through other poke holes. First the joint is inspected, the necessary procedures is carried out.

How long do I have to stay in hospital after arthroscopic surgery?

Most of the patients, after arthroscopic surgery, are discharged from the hospital or the surgery center where the surgery is performed within couple of hour. Patients, if needed, are given ambulatory aids in the form of crutches and braces apart from medications.

What is a meniscectomy?

A meniscectomy is a surgery in which a part, or complete, meniscus of the knee joint is removed to make the patients symptom-free due to the torn meniscus. Most of the time, a partial meniscectomy is performed, and we tend to keep the healthy meniscus in place so that it may help in the form of cushioning and movement of the knee joint.

Is it safe to remove part of my cartilage?

Knee cartilage in the form of meniscus is there to help gliding, as well as cushioning the knee joint. Cartilage should not be removed, but if it is torn and the patient has symptoms which are unrelieved by conservative means, then this part of cartilage may need to be removed to make the patient symptom-free.

How long will it take to recover from arthroscopic surgery?

Patients who undergo arthroscopic surgery may take up to 6-8 weeks to recover after all routine knee surgeries like meniscectomy. Patients who undergo meniscus repair may take 3-4 months for the meniscus to heal and recover. Patients who undergo ligament reconstruction like ACL or PCL construction will have to be in a rehab program for a long time and, depending on the type of work and pre-surgery status, may take 6 months to a year to recover.

When will I start to feel better after arthroscopic surgery?

Recovery after arthroscopic surgery is gradual though faster than an open surgery. Patient may have pain and swelling after the surgery, which will subside over the next few days. Patients usually start physical therapy from a week after the surgery. It may take about 6-8 weeks to completely recover from a partial meniscectomy and longer in cases of meniscus repair or ligament reconstruction.

How long will I have to use crutches after surgery?

The use of crutches after surgery depends on type of surgery as well as the patient. Most patients will undergo arthroscopic partial meniscectomy do not need crutches or may use them for a couple of days for comfort and help. Patients who undergo meniscal repair or ACL reconstruction may need crutches for a longer.

What are my treatment options?

Treatment options vary from doing nothing, use of anti-inflammatory medications, use of cortisone shot, treating the problem with a minimally invasive or surgical procedure in the form of arthroscopic surgery. Physical therapy is also an option for these patients which may be helpful before surgery as well as after the surgery also.

Is surgery an option for me?

Surgery for knee in the form of meniscectomy, meniscal repair or ligament reconstruction are essentially all elective surgeries and an option which needs to be discussed between the physician and the patient before a decision can be taken on it.

What are the risks associated with the treatment?

Risk associated with arthroscopic surgery are bleeding, blood clots in the calf, infection, injury to nerves or blood vessels, damage to cartilage, ligaments, meniscus, stiffness of the knee apart from anesthesia risks.

Do I need to stay in the hospital?

Most patients do not need to stay in the hospital and are discharged from the surgical area within couple of hours after the surgery. Occasionally, patients with co-morbidities may need to stay in the hospital for observation.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Most patients who undergo arthroscopic knee surgery are discharged from the hospital or surgical area within one to two hours after the surgery. They are given ambulatory aids and braces apart from medications if needed.

What are the complications I should watch for?

Complications to be looked for after knee surgery are worsening pain, which is not relieved with pain medications, swelling over the surgical area, discharge from the surgical site. Patient need to call the physician’s office to discuss further management. Patients could also look for any calf pain as well as chest pain or other symptoms involving the heart or the brain. These patients may need urgent medical attention and should call 9-1-1 or visit an emergency room.

How long will I be on medications?

Patients are usually on pain medications for a few days after surgery. They are gradually tapered onto anti-inflammatory medications and can wean them off over a few weeks. Patient in physical therapy and their pain is well-controlled do not need to take regular medications and can take anti-inflammatory medications when pain worsens. Patients are also advised to use ice and elevation when the pain and swelling worsen.

Does my medication interact with non-prescription medications supplements?

The patient should inform of all the non-prescription medications or supplements that the patient is taking before the surgery as well as at the time of surgery. There are certain medications, which may interact with the anesthetic medications as well as medications that are given after the surgery. And cause serious side effects.

Do I need to change my diet after surgery?

Though there is no special diet, it is always advisable to take soft diet immediately after surgery. This will help not only prevent constipation, but also prevent nausea and vomiting.

Do I need to lose weight?

Weight loss has multiple effects on the body. If the patient has a higher BMI, they will always be benefited by weight loss with regards to decreasing their blood pressure, better management of diabetes as well as prevention as well as help in management of multiple musculoskeletal pain and disorders including low back pain, knee pain, hip pain, and ankle pain.

When can I resume my normal activity?

Patients who undergo arthroscopic meniscectomies are usually able to resume their normal activities within a few days after the surgery. The patient can gradually increase the amount of work that they can do. It will take about six to eight weeks before the patient fully recovers from the surgery. Patients who undergo Meniscal repair may take a longer time, up to three to four months to complete recovery. Patients who undergo ligament reconstruction may up to six months to a year for complete recovery from the surgery.

When can I return to work after arthroscopic meniscus surgery?

Return to work depends on the type of work the patient does as well as the type of surgery he has undergone. If the patient has undergone arthroscopic partial meniscectomy and are in a low impact desk-type job, they are able to return to work as early as two weeks. Patient who undergo surgeries like meniscal repair or ligament reconstruction as well as patients who are in high-demand jobs and manual work may take longer time to return to work. The return to work is essentially decided by the recovery of the patient with the physical therapy and the decision is made in consultation with the physician and the physical therapist with the patient.

Do I need a special exercise program?

Most patients after arthroscopic surgeries are enrolled into physical therapy programs. These patients undergo special exercise programs, which are decided by the type of surgery that has been performed. Patients need to be in regular follow up with the physical therapist as well as the physician.

Will I need physical therapy?

Most patients after arthroscopic surgery are sent for physical therapy as early as one week after the surgery. They are also started on home exercise program.

What else can I do to reduce my risk of an injury again?

Ascertaining the cause and the reason for the injury may help to be cognizant about reduction of risk of re-injury. Patients may also need to reduce weight if they are overweight. They may use a brace while doing high-risk activities to reduce the risk of injury.

How often will I need to see my doctor for check-ups?

Most patient follow with their physician after 7-10 days after the surgery, and then after that, monthly for a few months until they fully recovery.

When is it right to call the doctor after surgery?

Most patients are called back to visit the doctor in 7 – 10 days after the surgery. If the patient has calf or chest pain or any other emergency, they should call 9-1-1. If the patient has worsening pain not relieved with pain medications, or swelling, fever, chills, discharge, then these patients may need to call the doctor during the office hours or leave a voicemail for the physician after office hours.

What happens when you remove the meniscus?

Meniscus are cartilaginous disc inside the knee which cushions the knee as well as helps in gliding and rotating movement of the knee. If a part of meniscus is removed after the surgery then there are certain amounts of increase in load on the bone and this may gradually enhance the arthritic changes in the knee. For the same reason, it is preferable not to remove the meniscus and if the meniscus is repairable it should be repaired. But if the meniscus is torn beyond repair then it must be removed so as to alleviate all the symptoms.

Can physical therapy repair a torn meniscus?

Physical therapy to the knee can help regaining range of motion as well as strength and at the same time decreasing pain and swelling of the knee in case of torn meniscus. If the meniscus is torn on the outer aspect near the joint line, then the meniscus may heal by themselves over time. The physical therapy helps in retaining and improving the function of the knee.

What causes meniscus tear?

Injuries in the form of fall, or while cutting or pivoting may cause meniscus tear, even in a normal meniscus. If patients have degenerative meniscus which may happen due to prolong, long standing injury, or aging, then any subtle movement can also cause meniscal tear.

How long does it take to do a meniscus surgery?

A meniscus surgery may last from forty-five minutes to an hour, but a surgery involving the repair of the meniscus may last one to two hours depending on the size of the injury. There may be multiple surgical scars with some a little bigger than a poke hole incision as compared to partial meniscectomy which has 2-3 small surgical scars. This is due to the work needed to be done to repair the meniscus.

These questions have been personally answered by:

Dr. Vedant Vaksha

I am Vedant Vaksha, Fellowship trained Spine, Sports and Arthroscopic Surgeon at Complete Orthopedics. I take care of patients with ailments of the neck, back, shoulder, knee, elbow and ankle. I personally approve this content and have written most of it myself.

Please take a look at my profile page and don't hesitate to come in and talk.

Call Now Button