Rehabilitation After a Meniscus Injury

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24 May

Rehabilitation After a Meniscus Injury

Are you dealing with a meniscus injury? Your meniscus consists of the cartilage that cushions the shinbone from the thigh bone. If you accidentally twist or or rotate your knee forcefully, this cartilage can tear, resulting in pain, swelling and mobility issues.

On average, it takes anywhere from four to eight weeks to recover from a meniscus injury. More serious cases may require surgery, which can take several months to recover from. In this blog, we’ll offer guidance on knee meniscus injury rehabilitation, including the different phases of recovery,

helpful exercises and the benefits of professional support.

What Are the Phases of Rehabilitation?

Everybody has their own timeline when it comes to meniscus injury recovery. Here’s a general breakdown of the rehabilitation phases for more serious injuries:

  • Phase 1 (0-3 weeks after injury): The purpose of this phase is to protect the repair from further damage. Patients may have to use a brace and crutches, and they should avoid bending their knee.
  • Phase 2 (3-6 weeks after injury): During this phase, the patient may practice minor strengthening exercises and physical therapy. They should still avoid bending their knee.
  • Phase 3 (6-9 weeks after injury): At this stage, the patient may be able to discontinue their braces and crutches.
  • Phase 4 (9-12 weeks after injury): As the injury heals, the patient should engage in more intensive exercises during physical therapy.
  • Phase 5 (3-5 months after injury): Athletes may start gradually returning to sports at this stage.
  • Phase 6 (6+ months after injury): Depending on their knee health, patients may be able to fully return to sports and their regular activities.

What Can I Do to Achieve Knee Injury Relief On My Own?

During recovery, it’s important to be careful and avoid causing further damage to the knee. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid deep knee bends: Try not to pivot or bend your knee too much. When sitting down, opt for higher furniture, as low couches and chairs encourage bending. If needed, add cushions to your seating.
  • Walk properly: Don’t put too much weight on your injured leg while walking. When going up or down stairs, lead with your uninjured leg.
  • Avoid heavy weights: Carrying heavy items puts excess pressure on your knee.
  • Use cushioned footwear: Supportive, cushioned footwear absorbs shock and provides stability.
  • Rest regularly: Be sure to take breaks and give your knee a chance to rest.

These at-home habits should be paired with professional treatments, including supportive devices and physical therapy.

Supportive Steps to Knee Recovery

After your injury, your doctor will provide guidance on using knee braces and supportive devices. Most patients start with a brace (which keeps the knee in place) and crutches (which help you avoid placing weight on the injured leg). As your injury heals, you’ll be able to transition away from these devices.

In addition to using supportive materials, you’ll need to practice physical therapy. Here are a few common exercises:

  • Stretches: Stretching improves flexibility and helps restore knee motion.
  • Strengthening exercises: These exercises focus on building quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles to build stability in the knee. Examples include hamstring curls, straight leg raises and bridges.
  • Balancing exercises: There are many exercises geared toward improving balance and stability, such as side leg raises, toe walks and single-leg stands.
  • Equipment: In later stages of recovery, you may begin using professional equipment (such as stationary bikes or ellipticals).

By carefully following physical therapy guidelines, you’ll improve knee strength, flexibility and stability while simultaneously reducing pain and swelling.

Discover Non-Invasive Knee Pain Treatments At Georgia Medical Treatment Center

Does the rehabilitation process seem overwhelming? The good news is, you don’t have to go through it alone. At Georgia Medical Treatment Center, we support patients with minimally invasive, non-surgical knee pain treatments. In addition to experienced physical therapists, we offer knee injection therapies and high-quality bracing and support. Our ultimate goal is to treat the meniscus injury, build your strength and help you get back to your normal activities.

Interested in learning more? Contact us for a consultation with our knee pain doctors today!

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