Non-operative Treatment
The rehabilitation program for non-operative treatment of a meniscus injury may include:

  • using crutches for protective weight bearing while walking. Crutch use is usually recommended for the first 2 - 3 days after injury, or until pain and swelling have subsided.
  • flexion - extension exercises for motion and strength. An exercise program begins about 2 - 4 weeks after injury. No rotational exercises are permitted until the knee is symptom-free.
  • return to activities at about 4 - 6 weeks after injury. If the knee is still symptomatic after 2 - 3 months, further medical evaluation and surgery may be necessary.

  • Partial Resection
    The rehabilitation program for a partial resection of the meniscus may include:

    • crutch use for the first 2 - 3 days following surgery due to post-operative pain and swelling. After this, the patient may be weight-bearing as tolerated.
    • range of motion exercises are emphasized at first.
    • strength exercises begin once swelling has subsided.
    • return to activities can start at about 4 - 6 weeks following surgery.

    Meniscal Repair
    Rehabilitation after meniscal repair depends on the size of the tear, stability of the repair, and other injuries. In general, for an isolated meniscal repair:

    • Full weight bearing is not permitted for 1 - 6 weeks after surgery, depending on the type of injury and repair. Crutches will be used initially following surgery.
    • Many surgeons brace the knee and restrict motion for 6 weeks, to prevent excessive flexion and extension.
    • Range of motion exercises begin anywhere from 0 - 6 weeks after surgery, depending on the type of repair.
    • Strengthening exercises begin once full range of motion has returned.
    • Return to vigorous activities, such as sports, may begin 3 - 4 months after repair.

    Persistent pain, mechanical symptoms, or stiffness after meniscal repair may indicate the need for further treatment. If the meniscus does not heal, its revision or removal may be necessary.

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