Treatment for a torn meniscus often begins conservatively. Your doctor may recommend:
- Rest: This is quite obvious, by resting and avoiding activities that aggravate your knee pain, you are preventing the injury from getting worse. Crutches are a good idea to take pressure off your knee and help your knee heal better.
- Ice: Ice can reduce knee pain and swelling and you can use an ice-pack or even just a bag of frozen vegetables.
- Compression: This can reduce the swelling in the knee
- Elevation: This also can reduce the level of swelling
- Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers also can help ease knee pain.
- Knee exercises: Physiotherapy and rehabilitation can help you strengthen and stabilize the muscles around your knee and in your legs.
If all the above conservative treatments fail and your knee remains painful, stiff or locked, surgery may be recommended. Sometimes the meniscus is repaired and other times it is trimmed. In both cases the approach is arthroscopic.
This arthroscopic surgery involves your doctor inserting an instrument called an arthroscope through a small incision near your knee. This equipment contains a light and a small camera, which shows the inside of your knee magnified onto a screen.
Recovery time following arthroscopic surgery tends to be much faster than it is for open-knee procedures because only small incisions are made. You may even be able to go home the same day.Nevertheless, full recovery may take weeks or months.
If the meniscus has degenerated and worn away, as would occur with severe degenerative arthritis, your doctor may recommend a knee joint replacement.