Meniscus Rehabilitation: What To Expect

The meniscus is a knee cartilage between your shinbone and thighbone that provides stability for the knee joint. A meniscus tear can limit regular movement and your ability to complete daily activities. The symptoms usually include a sense of pain and swelling in the knee. There are various types of tears, and the severity of the injury differs for everyone which leads to treatment on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes it is recommended to have surgery to prevent further complications that could lead to a form of arthritis. However, depending on the severity, research has shown that going through physical therapy first instead of getting meniscus surgery shows similar, if not slightly better outcomes. Surgery is not needed in many cases! 

Most tears will include exercises that help maintain the strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings, calf, and hip. These areas are crucial for one’s overall leg function and flexibility. Facilitated by a professional, exercises will focus on normalizing range of motion, strength, and stability. Interventions should be functional and can be conducted with use of bands, physioballs, and foam pads. Certainly, there are a few exercises that should be avoided such as deep squatting, twisting, and pivoting. 

Whether an individual does physical therapy with or without surgery, the goal is always the same! The objective is to get back the stability, range of motion, and strength in the knee. The length of physical therapy will depend on the person’s age, type of tear, healing process, and type of surgery if applicable. As an estimate, the length of rehab will be between 2-3 months. 

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