Meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage located in the knee. Every knee has two menisci, one on the inside called medial menisci and the other on the outside, called lateral menisci. They are made up of fibro-cartilage and act as cushioning materials between femur and tibia fibula. The main function of menisci is absorbing shocks and lubricating the knee joint. However, these menisci are prone to tearing due to the damage to any of the ligaments by which they are connected to the bones. Meniscus injuries are pretty common in athletes and old people.
Often, forceful bending of knee is a common reason for meniscus tear. In older people, a tear may occur due to tissue degeneration, which originates from arthritis. Severe knee pain is the most common symptom of meniscus tear. Meniscus surgery is often recommended as a corrective measure to improve the function of the meniscus.
Meniscus Tear Treatments
Treatments are prescribed depending upon the extent of the injury. If the injury is of minor consequence, the person may respond well to conservative treatment, which includes adequate rest, medications and physiotherapy exercises. However, the conservative treatment is likely to benefit only if you are young and have a tear that is only a recent one. If the tear involves meniscus pain and swelling, then cortisone injections may prove to be of great help. Surgery is mostly recommended when the meniscus refuses to heal or in older patients where the meniscus tends to grind off easily.
Meniscus Tear Recovery Time
Meniscus tear surgery is basically of two types, one that involves partial removal of the meniscus and the other which aims at repairing the damaged part. Meniscus repair surgery is effective, if the damage to meniscus is on the periphery, where there is adequate blood supply. In other cases, partial meniscectomy surgery may help considerably. Recovery time for meniscus tear depends upon the type of surgery performed.
The other factors that affect the recovery time are as follows:
- Age of the patient
- Activity of the patient
- Amount of meniscus removal
- Any other procedures, if performed
On an average, it takes about 4 - 6 weeks of time for the patient to recover completely from the meniscus surgery. The patient might be placed on crutches for a few days until he regains strength for walking on his own. If the surgery is a minor one, then he might be able to walk on his own. Though, the person may be able to resume his work within 2 - 4 weeks of surgery, it may take longer than 2 months for the muscles to regain their full strength. Strenuous activities can be resumed only after 2 months of proper rest and care.
How to Fasten Recovery
If you take proper rest and limit yourself to minimum strain, then you may be able to accelerate the recovery period. Ice therapy and compressions are an integral part of meniscus rehabilitation. It is equally important to take the medications as per instructed by your surgeon. Similarly, physiotherapy exercises have a great role in quickening the recovery time. The exercises should be done only as guided by the physiotherapist. Even after you gain normal strength, you should continue caring for your meniscus.
Meniscus tear recovery time also depends upon the health of the individual. People with better and healthy physique are likely to recuperate more quickly than others. At the same time, proper care and nursing of the meniscus also plays a vital role in determining the recovery time. Following the instructions of the doctor to word, may help one to attain quick recovery from the meniscus surgery.