The meniscus is the soft rubbery bumper cushion that sits between the thigh bone and the leg bone. There are two menisci in the knee; a medial (inside) and a lateral (outside) meniscus. These structures act as shock absorbers that decrease the stress seen by the articular cartilage found on the end of the thigh bone and leg bone. Meniscus injuries are quite common and occur in patients of all ages. Arthroscopic surgical treatment of a meniscus injury is the most common orthopaedic surgical procedure done in this country. An injury can occur as a result of squatting, turning or twisting during almost any activity.
90% of the time, the appropriate treatment is arthroscopy to remove the torn fragments rather than
Recovery from an arthroscopy to remove the torn meniscus is relatively short. It is a minimally invasive outpatient surgery with typically 2 to 3 small puncture wounds to perform the surgery. The patient will typically be weight bearing as tolerated, but he/she may need to use crutches for a few days following the surgery. Swelling typically improves during the first week. Patients with sedentary jobs can return within one to two days. More physical laborers may take longer to recover. Patients typically return to sports or exercise by 4 to 6 weeks following a short period of physical therapy. Future blogs will describe meniscus repair and review the research we are currently involved with at Washington University Sports Medicine regarding meniscus repair.
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