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What are the Best Ways to Speed up a Meniscus Tear Recovery?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2018
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Perhaps one of the most best ways to speed up meniscus tear recovery is to do nothing at all; that is, the injured person needs to rest the joint sufficiently for a significant period of time. Resting the joint not only prevents further injury from occurring, but it also allows the fibers of the meniscus to heal naturally. Recovering from a meniscus tear can take time and patience, and using the joint too soon will only prolong the recovery time. For minor tears, meniscus tear recovery will revolve around the RICE treatment, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

The RICE treatment for meniscus tear recovery is most important immediately after the injury occurs. This will have the biggest impact on speeding up recovery time, since icing can go a long way toward reducing swelling and bleeding. Compression and elevation can also help reduce swelling and pain in the affected area. Rest is again the most important element of recovery, and for some people this is the most difficult part of the process. Meniscus tears usually occur in very active people, so the temptation to stay active is high. An athlete can help speed up recovery by staying off his or her feet and instead focusing on upper body strength during the healing process.

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Other temptations during meniscus tear recovery include heating the area with a heating pad or in a jacuzzi, and massaging the area. To speed up recovery, it is important to actually avoid these activities within the first several days of being injured. Massaging the area can re-injure the meniscus, or it can exacerbate swelling or bleeding. Drinking alcohol in excess can also have an adverse effect on the injury, so it should be avoided within the first several days of recovery as well. Anything that can increase swelling, the likelihood of re-injury, or bleeding and bruising should generally be avoided for the first week after injuring the meniscus.

Patience is important when attempting to speed up recovery. One can expect to be on crutches for several weeks, and a full recovery generally takes several months. Rehabilitation can be slow and painful; avoid beginning physical therapy until little or no pain is felt in the knee. An athlete's natural urge will be to perform a lot of physical activity to speed up recovery; this is the exact opposite tactic one should employ. Start slow and allow the weakened tissues to rebuild and regain mobility, then gradually increase resistance and weight.

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fify
Post 3

I've had a medial meniscus tear twice. The first time, I didn't pay too much attention to it and recovery took very long.

The second time when it happened, I kept my leg elevated with several pillows all the time. That really shortened my recovery time. I think injuries have a hard time healing when there is too much blood flow to the area.

I've also heard that acupuncture shortens recovery time for torn meniscus but I've never tried it.

discographer
Post 2

@MikeMason-- If she is recovering from a meniscus tear surgery, she certainly should be staying off her feet. Perhaps, she had a meniscal debridement rather than a tear surgery? Those are different surgeries and the recovery is different for them.

After a meniscus tear surgery, the knee is immobilized with a brace and the patient is told not to put any weight on it. The knee can't heal when there is pressure and weight on it. The tear can repeat itself under pressure.

The patient has to go back to activity slowly through physical therapy and is not allowed to do exercises by himself or herself.

Walking around or exercising will just prolong recovery or even worse, require another surgery.

stoneMason
Post 1

My cousin had a meniscus surgery recently and is allowed to walk some as long as there is no discomfort or pain. How can that be? Shouldn't she be staying off her feet altogether?

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