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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Torn Meniscus?

A torn meniscus is a condition in which the cartilage found in knees is damaged due to injuries or physical activities. Meniscus plays an important role in stabilization and prevention of rubbing of the bones of knees together.[1] Tears in meniscus is caused by aging, contact or non-contact sports, a sudden change in direction while physical activities and others. Its symptoms include pain and swelling in the knees, locking up sensation and others. It can be treated with rest, pain medications, ice application, compression, elevation, and surgery.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Torn Meniscus?

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Torn Meniscus?

Torn meniscus may take two to three weeks to recover. Recovery time is different in different individuals. It is dependent on the severity of the case, type of treatment, if surgery is done, then it depends on the type of surgery and rehabilitation program.[2]

If surgery is performed to treat meniscus tear, then it may take a month to recover. Full recovery may take four to six months with effective physical therapy to restore full function and strength. Physical therapy strengthens the quadriceps muscle, which leads to regaining of a normal range of motion.

A torn meniscus is tearing of the meniscus which is located in the knee between femur and tibia. The meniscus is cartilage found in the knees that protect the knees from wear and tear. It helps to cushion and stabilize the knee joint. It also helps to bear the weight of the body by preventing the constant rubbing of the bones of the knee joint together. It also helps to distribute nutrients to the tissues and cartilage around the bones in the lower leg.[1]

Torn Meniscus Symptoms

The symptoms of a torn meniscus are-

  • Pain in the knee joint
  • Swelling in the knee
  • A sensation of popping during an injury
  • Difficulty in the movement of legs such as bending or straightening of the leg
  • Locking or stuck sensation in the knee[3]

Torn Meniscus Causes

Torn meniscus is caused by a sudden movement or twisting during physical activities. It can happen during contact sports like football, rugby, and non-contact sports which need jumping. It can also happen when you change your direction suddenly while running. It is a common injury for athletes. Old people above the age of 65 years are more likely to have meniscus tears due to degenerative changes. It may also be associated with other ailments in the knee region.[4]

Torn Meniscus Diagnosis

Torn meniscus can be diagnosed on the basis of the symptoms and causes of the condition. Physicians will examine the knees. X-rays are one to rule out other ailments of the affected knee. MRI scan will provide the exact condition of the cartilage.

Torn Meniscus Treatment

Torn meniscus treatment is dependent on certain factors such as age, activity level and other injuries related to the knee. It also depends on the size and location of the tear. It aims at the relief of pain and swelling of the knee. It can be treated with the following ways-

  • Resting the affected leg by avoiding sports for a few days
  • Applying ice on the affected knee in every three to four hours for at least 30 minutes.
  • Compression of the affected knees with an elastic bandage or neoprene
  • Elevation of the knee
  • Medicines like non-inflammatory Painkillers like ibuprofen and aspirin to relieve pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy which includes stretching and strengthening exercises to restore full range of motion and strength of knees
  • Avoidance of impact activities like jumping, running, and other sports
  • Surgery if all the above measures fail to provide relief.


Torn meniscus is a common injury in athletes. Torn meniscus is caused by a sudden alteration in the direction and force of physical activities. It can be treated with conservative ways and surgery. Torn meniscus takes 3 to 4 weeks to three months for recovery depending upon type, extent, and location of the injury and age and activity level of the patient.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 18, 2023

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