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What is a meniscus tear and its teatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Meniscus tear is a very common injury, especially in athletes, whether they are professionals or not, who need a full recovery, and this takes time. This time affects the work and personal life of the person, since the care must be correct and are not always easy to follow, which could lead to the injury being chronic and generating changes that may affect the future.

If you want to know what a meniscus injury is about, what treatments may be needed and how long does a meniscus tear last , then keep reading this article from FastlyHeal .

What is a meniscus tear

The menisci are two cartilage structures in the middle of the knee joint, two menisci for each. They are subjected to hard work and have different functions:

  • They absorb the load that passes from the thigh to the leg, especially in the standing position (or knee extension).
  • They stabilize the knee joint in the movements of extension, flexion and rotations.
  • They promote nutrition and lubrication within the knee.
  • They protect the cartilage of the joint that is above and below them, reducing friction in the area.

The menisci are not fixed to the tibia (which is the bone that supports them underneath), therefore, when uncontrolled movements are made, the menisci can be injured. There are different ways this can happen: during rotation with the knee bent, hyperextension or hyperflexion of the knee, or when taking abrupt positions by bending the joint outward or inward. This can happen in a moment (acute injury) or be chronic or repeated tears.

In either case, the person may feel:

  • Pain in that joint, which is perceived as a deep pain that can even extend to the area behind the knee.
  • Clicking sounds with certain movements.
  • Swelling of the area due to the leakage of the joint’s own fluid.
  • Inflammation.
  • Inability to move the knee or limitation of its movements.
  • Instability of that joint, that is, it does not feel firm and secure when using it.
  • If the injury is chronic, there may be a decrease in the size of the thigh on that side.

How long does a meniscus tear take to heal?

If no treatment is performed, the meniscus tear becomes chronic, that is, the injury remains there, and can cause problems in the other structures of the knee, with the possibility of generating osteoarthritis .

If the proper treatment is carried out, as has been seen, around 6 weeks it is possible to restart the march but with crutches, and for full recovery it may take a few months .

How long you are on leave for a torn meniscus

The doctor in charge of the injured person will indicate a certain number of days in which the person should not go to work, this is called “temporary incapacity for work”, and will be recommended taking into account different issues:

  • The type of treatment (conservative or surgical).
  • The surgical procedure used.
  • Work activity.
  • Compliance with the rehabilitation process.

The number of days of rest indicated is very variable and usually ranges between 7 and 60 days , approximately.

If the person underwent conservative treatment (without surgery) and had a good evolution, it is expected that 3 to 6 weeks after starting their treatment, they will be able to lead a practically normal life. Rehabilitation is sometimes indicated to begin as early as 6 weeks after the injury, once the acute inflammation has passed.

If the person was operated and if all the factors are favorable, the reintegration to their normal life will be several weeks after the surgery. Depending on the activity in your work, it will be your job reintegration. If it is a sedentary job, perhaps you can do it, as long as certain care is taken into account, for example, the use of devices that allow to keep the leg up.

The surgeon can indicate precise restrictions, such as: inability to squat, jump or kneel. The surgeon usually monitors his patients for several months after surgery, since closely monitoring allows the number of complications to decrease.

Treatment for a torn meniscus

In the first moment of the injury, until studies are carried out and it is decided what will be done, it is usually indicated:

  • Analgesics, anti-inflammatories.
  • Cold in the injured area.
  • Repose.
  • Do not support the affected leg.

Among the studies that can be requested to find out what is happening in that knee are: X-rays, MRI and arthroscopy. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, the orthopedic traumatologist will decide to perform a conservative or surgical treatment.

The conservative treatment is usually indicated to those who only feel pain with physical activity and are not locked or swollen knee, also in older adults with minor injuries and may have knee pain from other causes and not only for its injury to the menisci. Different techniques are used to remove pain and strengthen the joint, such as: exercise rehabilitation, thermotherapy, ultrasound, magnetotherapy and electroanalgesia. The person is expected to improve within three weeks, after which, if there is no such improvement, surgery is proposed, especially in high-performance athletes.

The surgical treatment is currently performed by arthroscopy, ie by making small incisions and the use of a small camera, can correct various types of injury. The most used methods are:

  • Meniscal reshaping: the damaged area is removed and the meniscus is reshaped, allowing it to continue working.
  • Meniscal suture: stitches are made or small harpoons or arrows are placed to keep the damaged areas of the meniscus together.
  • Meniscal transplantation: in young patients with very large lesions, in whom the meniscus had to be completely removed, there is the possibility of performing a transplant from existing menisci in bone and tissue bank.

In general terms, after these procedures, the knee should be immobilized in extension for two weeks, allowing small controlled movements, which from the fourth week will gradually increase. At six weeks, you can start walking with the help of crutches. Just at 6 months, sports activities can be resumed.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to How long does a meniscus tear last? , we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints and Muscles .

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