Everyone experiences a sprain or strain in various ligaments and muscles in their body. If you’re an athlete or someone who loves a good workout, the likelihood of an injury increases.
But the fear of injury doesn’t keep us from enjoying the physical activity we love and it shouldn’t. Sometimes, however, what we think is just a sprain could end up being a more serious problem. Sometimes these injuries even lead to the need for surgery.
Let’s take a look at one of the more common injuries that occasionally require surgery: a torn meniscus.
What Is Your Meniscus?
First, you may be wondering just what a meniscus is. Your meniscus is the medical term for the cartilage around your knee. It keeps the joint of your knee in place and allows for a stabilized range of motion.
Why Do People Need Meniscus Surgery? So why would you need meniscus surgery?
Typically, meniscus surgery is performed when there is a significant tear in the meniscus. This can happen during physical exercise or a fall. These tears occur because the knee has been misused; sometimes from turning the wrong way, twisting, or overextending the knee.
Another cause of meniscus tears is chronic conditions like osteoarthritis which causes a degeneration of the cartilage around your knee.
Ultimately, you will need meniscus surgery if damage or tearing is done to your meniscus that is too severe to heal on its own.
Signs of a Meniscus Tear
How can you know if you have a tear in your meniscus?
For most people, the signs are pretty obvious. You’ll hear a loud popping sound and feel a good amount of pain in your knee. You may also notice some stiffness or limited range of mobility due to the injury.
This pain will often not get better on its own and may actually worsen with movement. Your knee will also swell and feel hot to the touch.
What Is Meniscus Surgery? What exactly is meniscus surgery?
Meniscus surgery, also known officially as a meniscectomy, is a surgery that entails the removal of the torn part of your meniscus. A surgeon will go in and remove the tiny part of the cartilage surrounding the tear, then smooth out torn edges. Finally, a saline flush will be performed to clear out any loose particles of cartilage. They will then use stitches to sew the incision site closed.
How Long It Takes to Heal After a Meniscus Surgery
The post-op healing time of a meniscectomy can take up to three months. That may seem like a long time, but when you think about how much we use our knees to get around, it makes sense.
There are a few things that you can do to speed up the recovery process and make sure that your knee gets the rest it needs.
How to Stay Comfortable While You Heal
Most importantly, you need to make sure that you put as little pressure on your repaired meniscus as possible.
You can do this by using crutches until your knee is healed and covering the site of the incision whenever you’re showering. Ice is also recommended to reduce swelling.
How to Sleep After a Meniscus Surgery
As you might expect, sleeping after meniscus surgery often proves difficult and painful.
You can mitigate this pain by sleeping on your back with a wedge pillow under your knee. This will allow for elevation while removing pressure from the knee and keeping it at a resting angle that will hurt a lot less.
Healing From a Meniscus Surgery Can Be Uncomfortable
Meniscus surgery is far from comfortable, but when done properly with correct post-operational care, you’ll be able to use your knee free of pain.