How Long Does It Take for a Torn Meniscus to Heal Without Surgery?
A torn meniscus is one of the most treated knee injuries. It occurs when your knee is twisted or turned forcefully. The knee consists of three bones namely the shin bone, the thigh bone, and the kneecap. The meniscus is the cartilage between the shin bone and thigh bone. Each knee has two menisci and it acts as a cushion between the joint. You may develop meniscus tears while doing various activities in your daily life. A torn meniscus can cause severe pain, swelling and stiffness. You also find difficulty in movement.
If the meniscus tear is minimal, it can be treated using home remedies or physical therapy. But if the tears are severe, then you should seek immediate medical assistance as it can cause further damage.
What Causes Meniscus Tear?
People of any age group can have a torn meniscus. A torn meniscus occurs due to the twisting movements of the knee. It is most commonly seen in young athletes. Old-age people may also develop meniscus tears due to the degeneration caused by wear and tear.
In some cases, even kneeling, squatting, lifting heavy objects, etc. can also lead to a torn meniscus.
Common Signs of a Meniscus Tear
If your meniscus has torn, it takes around 24 hours to show pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee. The following are some of the common signs:
- Swelling and stiffness
- Pain while twisting the knee
- Popping sensation
- Pain on the sides of the knee
- A feeling that your knee giving way
If you experience any of these signs and you are unable to move your knee, contact your doctor right away.
Can I Heal from Torn Meniscus Without Surgery?
You do not always need surgery to treat a torn meniscus. There are several non-surgical methods that are effective at treating a torn meniscus. The methods include:
- Rest: Try to rest your knee following an injury. You should avoid activities that could exert pressure on the knee.
- Ice: Apply ice on the knee for at least 10 to 15 minutes at a time. This can help reduce swelling.
- Compression: You can also wrap the knee with an elastic bandage or can use a knee brace to prevent swelling.
- Elevation: Keep your knee elevated while resting on the bed, couch, or chair. This lets the blood flow towards the heart.
- Medications: You can use anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling. You should use them only if the doctor prescribes them.
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist will help you perform exercises and stretches to improve the range of motion, strength, and flexibility of the knee. The exercises mainly focus on strengthening the hamstring and quadricep muscles as they reduce stress on the knee. Once the inflammation reduces, the knee starts functioning normally.
- Joint injections: The doctor may also suggest joint injections to reduce your pain and swelling. The injections can provide relief for up to 4 weeks.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Torn Meniscus Without Surgery?
It takes around 6 to 8 weeks to recover from a torn meniscus without surgery. You will be asked to stop sports activities while your meniscus begins to heal. The recovery time varies from one person to another based on:
- The severity of the tear
- The location and type of the tear
- How long your signs exist
- Your age
- Your lifestyle
If your knee is healthy, it can recover faster than expected. Due to this, older people and people with joint issues need a longer time to recover from the tear.
During the recovery period, you need to focus more on strengthening your core and gluten muscles. This helps to have control over the thigh bone while running.
When Do I Need Surgery for a Meniscus Tear?
If the tear is minor, it can be treated using non-surgical methods. But some of the meniscus tears need surgery to restore knee movement. Surgery focuses on repairing the meniscus tissue.
Surgery is recommended in the following cases:
- If the signs exist for more than 3 months
- If the meniscus tear causes severe pain and affects the usage of the knee
- If the tears are complex and severe
- If two-thirds of the inner meniscus gets teared
Meet Dr Ajay Tiwari Today for an Effective Treatment for Torn Meniscus
If you or your loved one have a torn meniscus or experiencing pain while performing regular activities, meet Dr Ajay Tiwari. He is an experienced orthopedic and joint replacement surgeon in Hyderabad. He will carefully examine your knee and will suggest the best way to move forward. He focuses on treating the condition using conservative methods instead of directly suggesting surgery. You can count on us for the best treatment for your knee. To discuss your condition, schedule an appointment with Dr Ajay Tiwari today.