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More Meniscus Injury Facts:

The application of cold compression is an simple, effective pain minimization treatment for minor meniscus injuries.

Left untreated, meniscus injuries can be extremely debilitating and lead to life long complications.

Several studies have concluded that a meniscal tear can lead to knee osteoarthritis.

Knee osteoarthritis will make you at higher risk of suffering a meniscal tear.

In older people whose menisci are more likely to be worn down, a tear can result from even a very minor injury.

Typical Home Conservative Treatment Options include:

  • Rest
  • Use a cold compression wrap to reduce pain, swelling.
  • Use a circulation boost therapy once swelling has reduced.
  • Once swelling is reduced and healing has begun, stretch the area as instructed by your physician (stretching=good, straining=bad)

Copper infused, antibacterial compression wrap ankle, achilles compress wrap

MendMeShop Arnica Pain Relief Cream

Elbow Compression Support Wrap

Copper Infused Compression Gloves

Knee Compression Support Wrap

Shoulder Compression Support Wrap

Compression Support Socks, Leg and Calf Support

Wrist Carpal Tunnel Compression Support Brace

Orthopaedic Back Pillow Sitting

Orthopaedic Knee Pillow for Sleeping

Mendmeshop Muscle Rub Stick

Types, Symptoms and Locations of
Meniscus Tears

To Learn About Menisci in the Knee Click Here.

How Bad is Your Meniscus Tear?

How do you know if your meniscus tear needs surgery or if you can heal it yourself, at home, with conservative treatments?

If you think you have a meniscus tear:

  • The first thing to do is speak with your doctor. Only your doctor can give you a proper diagnosis and from this, determine a course of proper treatment. Unless you need surgery to fix your torn meniscus, your doctor will almost always recommend conservative treatment options - conservative treatment options for a medial meniscus tear typically means rest, ice the injury, elevate the injury and take anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Second, if your doctor has decided that your injury can be treated with conservative treatment options, then you'll find that many of our customers have had great success treating themselves with our powerful conservative home treatment product - the Knee TShellz Wrap®.
  • Or, if surgical intervention is required, talk with your doctor about using the TShellz Wrap® for post-surgery recovery once swelling is down and the surgery skin wound has healed over.

If Surgery on Your Meniscus is Required...

Most doctors, physicians and orthopedic specialists will recommend conservative therapy for minor meniscus injuries before considering surgery. If all conservative treatment methods have been explored and your symptoms (reduced range of motion, clicking, locking, pain) persist, then you will be considered a candidate for surgery. You and your doctor may decide to move forward and have you undergo surgery, which will trigger the next chapter of your recovery journey. Your post surgery rehabilitation efforts will have an important impact on how soon you can return to living and enjoying your normal daily life.

If possible, avoiding surgery is typically the best option. However in some some cases meniscal repair or even a meniscectomy is advised. Surgical removal of a meniscus (a procedure called a meniscectomy) may be necessary if the meniscus is worn down too much and/or is damaged beyond repair. Artificial meniscal implants might be used following a meniscectomy but the success rate of meniscal implants is currently found to be low (reference: boneandjoint.org.uk).

If you need to have meniscal surgery, we highly recommend you incorporate AidMyMeniscus's conservative treatment options during your post-surgery recovery. Using these conservative treatment methods when recovering from surgery are extremely beneficial for:

  • Reducing post-surgery inflammation with a Cold Compress or Ice Pack.
  • Enhancing range of motion (elongation) and elasticity of your soft tissue through use of the TShellz Wrap®.
  • Greatly enhancing blood circulation (the body's organic healing process) through use of the TShellz Wrap®.

Important: Do not start TShellz Wrap® treatments until the surgical skin wound has healed over and inflammation has reduced in the area (generally 2 to 6 weeks after surgery)

The type of surgery you will have depends on the type of meniscus injury you are faced with.

What & Where is Your Meniscus Tear?

If you've taken the step to get a proper diagnosis, then you've seen your doctor and may have your MRI results in hand. When it comes to meniscus tears there's a lot of medical terms that might mean very little to you but will actually describe the type of tear you have by using:

  • Location of the tear.
  • Zone of the tear (proximity to blood supply).
  • Type of tear (severity).
  • Pattern/shape of your tear.
  • Size of your tear.

Knowing all of these things about your tear will be the 1st step in also knowing whether you need surgery or if you'll be able to treat yourself with conservative treatment methods (avoiding surgery).

We here at AidMyMeniscus want to help you understand what all this medical speak is about...

Meniscus Tear Location

Each meniscus is described as having 3 different sections when doctors, surgeons or physical therapists explain where a tear is located: the anterior horn (located at the front of the knee), the mid-body (middle of the knee), and the posterior horn (located at the back of the knee).

radial posterior horn meniscus tear

Here are some phrases used by doctors to describe the location of your tear:

  • Complex Lateral Meniscus Tear: The word 'complex' actually describes the type of tear you have and the pattern/shape. Complex meniscal tears usually include a number of small different shape pattern tears in the meniscus. The word 'lateral' describes which meniscus (of the 2 in your knee) are affected. The lateral meniscus is on the outer side of the knee. This is probably where most of your pain, swelling and inflammation is located.
  • Complex Medial Meniscus Tear: Just like the 'Complex lateral meniscus tear', this tear is complex (lots of little tearing in many patterns/shapes). The word 'medial' means your meniscus that is closer to the inner side of your knee is injured. This will be where your pain is located.
  • Posterior Horn Meniscus Tear: Without the words 'medial' or 'lateral', this tear could be on either one of the menisci in your knee joint (inner or outer sides). The posterior horn is the location of the tear on the actual meniscus. Posterior always means 'back', so a posterior horn meniscus tear would be at the back of your knee, or the fold of your leg.
  • Anterior Horn Meniscal Tear: Like the 'posterior horn meniscus tear', this tear describes location on either one of the menisci in your knee. The anterior horn ('anterior') is always the front of your knee, so this tear is near the front, right behind your kneecap.
  • Lateral Meniscus Tear: Of the 2 menisci in your knee, this means the lateral meniscus is torn. The lateral meniscus is on the outermost side of your knee (the C-shaped curve is facing away from your body).
  • Medial Meniscus Tear: This means your medial meniscus is torn. The medial meniscus is on the innermost side of your knee (the C-shaped curve faces in toward your body, the opposite knee).
  • AnteroLateral Meniscus Tear: This means your lateral meniscus is torn and in a location on the front portion of the knee. The lateral meniscus is on the outermost side of your knee, so the tear location is outside-front.
  • AnteroMedial Meniscus Tear: This means your medial meniscus is torn in a location on the front side of the knee. The medial meniscus is on the inner most side of your knee, so the tear location is inside-front.
  • PosteroMedial Meniscus Tear: This means your medial meniscus is torn in a location on the back side of the knee, so the tear location is inside-back.
  • PosteroLateral Meniscus Tear: This means your lateral meniscus is torn in a location on the back part of the knee, so the tear location is outside-back

Meniscus Tear Blood Supply Zone

Blood supply to the injured meniscus is critical to healing! Location of the tear on the meniscus (the blood supply zone it's located in) will influence your ability to heal without surgery. The meniscus tissue is different 'fibrocartilage' than any other soft tissue in the body and has limited blood flow. This can make it difficult for the body to heal a meniscus tear on its own.

medial meniscus, lateral meniscus, transverse ligament, ACL and MCL anatomy

The blood flow to the menisci comes from the inferior genicular artery. This artery supplies blood to the perimeniscal plexus which provides oxygen and nutrients to the synovial and capsular tissues around the menisci and within the knee joint. The coronary ligaments attached to the meniscus, transport the blood from the perimeniscal plexus (network of blood vessels) into the peripheral of the menisci. The anterior and posterior horns of the menisci also receive a good amount of blood as they are covered by a vascular synovium. The interior part of the meniscus is avascular, having NO direct blood supply.

The amount of blood supply in the meniscus varies and can be broken into the 3 different zones:

  • The Red zone - Outside edge of the meniscus that's vascular (receives plenty of blood flow).
  • The Middle body - Central part of the meniscus with fewer blood vessels, but still some blood flow available.
  • The White zone - Inner 1/3 of the meniscus containing no blood vessels and receiving very little to no blood flow.

Tears in the red zone have the best chance of healing because they have more access to blood supply.

Meniscus tear blood supply zones

Based on blood supply, meniscus tears can be described in 3 different ways depending on the zone they're located in...

Red-on-Red Meniscus Tear Location

If both sides of a meniscus tear are in the red zone (the outer edge of your meniscus), your body has the ability to heal the tear with conservative treatments (most of the time, without surgery). When using conservative treatment options, a red-on-red meniscus tear will heal faster than tears of the same grade located deeper in the meniscus.

Red on White Meniscus Tear Location

A meniscus tear that's between the red zone and the middle body (includes the outside rim and center portion of your meniscus) heals slowly. The outer edge of the tear generally receives good blood supply whereas blood supply to the inner part of the tear is not as good. Depending on the severity, shape/pattern and size of your tear, this may need surgery. Surgeons will often try to suture (repair) a meniscus when a tear occurs in this zone. This is because they will have determined that there's enough blood supply available to assist with healing after the surgery. When using conservative treatment options, a red-on-white meniscus tear will heal faster than white-on-white tears of the same grade.

White-on-White Meniscus Tear Location

A meniscus tear that's in the white zone (the inner most part of your meniscus). Tears in this location have a poor healing rate and in most cases they won't heal naturally because there is little to no blood supply. A bucket handle or parrot beak tear (where there is displaced tissue causing locking/catching/clicking in the knee) in the white-on-white zone is usually removed surgically (either through a partial meniscectomy or full meniscectomy) as healing is very unlikely.

Types of Meniscus Tears & Severity

Although meniscus tears vary heavily in size and severity, the severity is generally classified as follows:

Partial Meniscus Tear

This means the tear has a partial thickness in depth and the meniscus still remains attached. These tears tend to be smaller and more stable because the meniscus stays connected to the front and back of your knee and doesn't move about freely. Depending on the location, partial meniscus tears can heal well with conservative treatment methods.

Complete Meniscus Tear

This is a full thickness tear meaning that the tear has has penetrated completely from the top to the bottom of the meniscus. These tears tend to be larger and less stable because in many cases, a flap of meniscus tissue will be only partially attached to the rest of the meniscus. The flap may move around in your joint which can lead to further complications and damage if not treated (usually by removal in surgery).

Degenerative Meniscus Tear

These tears have frayed edges on the inner rim, where the meniscus is thinnest, which can eventually tear in multiple directions and can lead to a completely degenerated (frayed, worn, aged) meniscus. A flap of the meniscus often moves about in your joint. If some of your meniscus is catching in the middle of your knee (locking/clicking your knee), you'll need surgery to smooth out your meniscus and remove all damaged tissue.

Full Meniscus Tear

If you are suffering from a full meniscus tear, then one of the menisci in your knee will be split in half. In such cases, the torn meniscus will move around in your joint resulting a a knee joint that typically feels quite unstable. You may also notice one or more bumps in the knee joint where the meniscus might be sticking out of the joint.

Meniscal Root Tear

Both lateral and medial menisci are held in place with 'root' attachments at the posterior end of the meniscus. As the name suggests, it roots the tissue in place inside the knee, provides stability, and prevents the menisci from being squeezed out place by the bones of your knee. A meniscal root tear is a very serious condition that needs to be treated with surgery to re-attach the tissue. This is because the foundation of the meniscus is now weak, unstable (meniscal subluxation) and the joint will act as if it's not present at all.

This type of tear can be caused by a sudden trauma to the knee, which is common to athletes in their 20's. A meniscal root tear almost always comes with secondary injuries to supporting soft tissue; like the ACL, PCL or other damaged ligaments. Failure to have the meniscal root tear treated leads long-term degenerative joint issues, like osteoarthritis.

Degenerative meniscal root tears are common to adults in their 50's. This can happen with a pop in the back of the knee through deep flexes, squatting and/or lifting. This seeming trivial event leads them to discover they are suffering from a rapidly developing case of osteoarthritis.

Patterns of Meniscus Tears

The pattern of your meniscus tear will influence your doctor's method of treating your injury. Some patterns are capable of healing themselves through conservative treatments, while others will require surgery to treat severe symptoms (locking of your knee). The shape of your tear will also determine the most appropriate surgical procedure to fix your torn meniscus.

5 types of meniscal tear patterns, lateral and medial meniscus

Diagram of meniscal tear patterns:

(A) Vertical or longitudinal (Bucket-handle).

(B) Oblique - tears are known as flap or parrot beak tears.

(C) Radial meniscus tear (or Transverse) - start on the inside white zone and goes to the middle body. A radial meniscus tear can continue to tear and reach the outside red zone. If this happens your surgeon will have no choice but completely remove your meniscus (meniscectomy).

(D) Horizontal cleavage tears - start on the inside white zone and goes to the middle body the meniscus may show signs of degeneration.

(E) Complex degenerative meniscus tears.

Only about 10 - 15% of meniscus tears are repairable, and in most of those cases the meniscus is repaired along with other tissue in the knee (such as the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL). (source: http://www.ckynde.dk/resources/ArtroskopiGenerel.pdf Campbell's operative orthopaedics, Arthroscopy of the lower extremity) [update 2023:link no longer active]

Meniscus Tear Shapes

The shape of your meniscus tear is important because it will help determine the type of treatment you receive; some tears will heal without surgery, some can be treated surgically and some can't be fixed. Tears come in many shapes and sizes, however there are 3 basic shapes for all meniscal tears: longitudinal, horizontal, and radial. If these tears are not treated, they may become more damaged and develop a displaced tear often referred to as a bucket handle tear (longitudinal), flap tear (horizontal) or parrot beak tear (radial). Complex tears are a combination of two or more of these basic shapes with damage occurring in more than one direction and depth.

Longitudinal Meniscus Tear

Also Known as a Circumferential Tear

A longitudinal tear extends lengthwise, following the collagen fibers that run parallel to the contour of the meniscus. This tear divides some of the meniscus into an inner and outer section, however the tear never touches the outer rim of the meniscus. These types of tears are found in the middle or outer third of the meniscus - a good thing as the chances of healing are better the closer the tear lies to the outer rim. These tears typically occur in younger and more physically active individuals. Longitudinal tears tend to happen more to the medial meniscus than the lateral and typically results from repeated movements. It generally starts as a partial tear in the posterior horn, which can sometimes heal on its own.

Longitudinal tears and more severe displaced bucket handle tear

If a longitudinal tear doesn't heal properly it can lead to a displaced tear, known as a bucket handle tear. A bucket handle tear is a complete tear (top to bottom) that goes all the way through and never touches the inner rim of your meniscus. There is a risk that the handle may flip over and can catch on the femur, locking the joint and increasing pain. This tear accounts for 10% of all meniscus tears, and causes your knee to lock in flexion. It is seen most often in young athletes, and happens in conjunction with 50% of ACL injuries. Large bucket handle tears of the meniscus can cause your knee to lock as the tissue breaks free and is stuck down inside the knee joint, requiring surgery promptly to free the knee and prevent further tissue damage.

The most common location of an injury in your knee is the posterior horn of the meniscus, and longitudinal tears are the most common shape of tears. Small tears limited to the posterior horn of the meniscus won't lock your knee (like other, more severe, tears) but will cause pain, constant / on-going swelling and leave you feeling weak or unstable in the knee. Vertical tears of the meniscus start from either the top or bottom of the meniscus and can be separated into 2 distinct shapes: longitudinal tears and radial tears.

Horizontal Meniscus Tear

Also Known as a Cleavage Tear

Horizontal tear and more severe displaced horizontal flap tear

A horizontal tear starts as a horizontal split deep in your meniscus. This tear divides your meniscus into a top and bottom section (like a sliced bun). It is often not visible and moves from the posterior horn or mid section to the inside of your meniscus. Horizontal tears are rare and often start after a minor injury from rotation or degeneration. It occurs most often in your lateral meniscus but however it is noted in both menisci. Horizontal meniscus tears are degenerative in nature. They are more likely to occur in people as they age who may or may not already show signs of having osteoarthritis.

A complete horizontal tear resulting in displaced tissue is also referred to as a horizontal flap tear and can develop if your tear is overlooked or left alone. This type of tear is horizontal on the surface of your meniscus and creates a flap that flicks when your knee moves. It is a result of a strong force that tears your meniscus from the inner rim; it can easily become a complex tear if left untreated. Often, the flap is trimmed away during surgery to prevent further tearing. Since the periphery of the meniscus is not compromised and there is enough tissue left to heal, the cushioning function of the meniscus is maintained. If this tear extends from the apex of your meniscus to the outer rim, you may develop a meniscal cyst (a mass that develops from a collection of synovial fluid along the outside rim of the meniscus) and/or experience increased swelling in and around the knee.

A horizontal tear is a tear that is most commonly amenable to meniscus repair. Rather than removing the damaged portion of the meniscus, a horizontal tear may be able to be sewn together though healing will depend on adequate blood-flow in the area.

Radial Tear of the Meniscus

Also Known as a Free-Edge Transverse Tear

A radial tear starts as a sharp split along the inner edge of your meniscus and eventually runs part way or all the way through your meniscus, dividing it into a front and back section (across the middle body instead of down the length). This tear generally occurs between the posterior horn and middle section and is seen frequently in your lateral meniscus.

Radial tear and more severe Parrot's Beak tear

A small tear is difficult to notice, but when a radial meniscus tear grows and becomes a complete tear it will open up (meaning some of the meniscus gets displaced) and look like a part is missing. A displaced radial tear is called a Parrot's Beak tear as the tear generally resembles the curved shape of a parrots beak. Parrots beak tears have been found to typically occur in the thicker portion of your lateral meniscus. As it gets larger, it will catch or lock more frequently, and prevent your meniscus from protecting the articular cartilage during weight bearing. This tear is usually the result of a traumatic event or forceful and repetitive stress activities and it is often associated with other injuries such as ACL tears. Young athletes tend to suffer from combination tears called radial/parrot beak tears (the meniscus splits in 2 directions).

Similar to longitudinal tears, radial tears usually occur due to some kind of acute trauma and appear in younger and more physically active people. If you have undergone partial meniscectomy surgery, you are more likely to experience a radial tear. This may happen due to changes in knee movement and function because of the previous removal of meniscus tissue. Radial tears can be more damaging to your knee than longitudinal tears as radial tears affect the ability of your meniscus to transfer load and bear weight on your knee.

Oblique Tear of the Meniscus

Oblique tears are basically radial tears that start at the inner side of the meniscus then travel diagonally outward - in some ways you could say that they are part radial tear and part longitudinal tear. Most oblique meniscus tears are happen in the posterior third of the medial meniscus.

Oblique tears commonly cause flaps and flaps are generally not good. Flaps cause mechanical instability - meaning they interrupt the smooth function of the knee joint and will make your knee joint feel unstable. Flaps causes by oblique tears typically mean that either some or all of the meniscus need to be removed - usually through arthroscopic surgery. Surgeons will try not to fully remove a meniscus if possible - especially in a younger person as the removal of a meniscus is widely regarded to quickly lead to osteoarthritis and often persistent knee pain.

How Big is Your Meniscus Tear?

The size of your meniscus tear will have some affect on your ability to heal the tear through conservative treatments. Meniscus tears under 1 cm can heal without surgery if it's located in the red-red or red-white zone (with some blood supply for healing). Tears that are 1.5 cm to 4 cm usually require surgery. The size of the tear becomes important because if the tear in the tissue is too large it will not heal without the help of your surgeon.

To understand why the size of your tear is important, let's imagine you have 2 slices of bread in front of you. You tear one just a little (less than an inch) and place it down. When you do this the bread will naturally pull the edges of the small tear back together. You tear the 2nd slice of bread in half (or more). When you place the bread down it will be floppy, and remain out of shape. You would need your hands, some peanut butter, or something else to force/keep both sides of the tear together. Your meniscus is no different, small tears have the ability to heal since the edges are still close enough to heal back together whereas large tears need sutures to bring the two sections of the tear back together.

Meniscus Tear Healing Rates Will Depend on Age, Health & Activity Level

non surgical treatment for torn meniscus

Your age will directly influence the causation of your meniscus injury - the younger you are, the more likely a torn meniscus will occur during a sport, whereas torn menisci are more likely occur through degenerative issues as you age. It's been proven that the meniscus becomes weaker over time resulting in degenerative meniscal tears; 60% of individuals over the age of 65 will experience a degenerative meniscus tear. (reference: 1)

A degenerative tear would typically require a partial meniscectomy to remove damaged and displaced tissue. A meniscal repair isn't possible to fix degenerative damage because of the jagged and torn nature of the meniscus. A meniscal repair of degenerative tissue would be very difficult to perform and reduces the rate of success for healing. Because of this fact, your age increases the likelihood that your surgeon will feel that your tear can't be repaired.

How to Heal Your Meniscus Tear

As you now know - the location, blood supply zone, type of tear, pattern/shape, size, and your overall age/activity level will influence your course of treatment and your doctor's decision about surgery. As a general rule, doctors will always recommend conservative treatment methods wherever possible first before considering surgery. You may have to move directly onto surgery because of the amount of damage around your meniscus - but you can still benefit from use of these same conservative therapies in preparation for the surgery and afterwards during your rehabilitation.

The level of damage to your meniscus will also affect which surgery is best to deal with your injury. If a tear is repairable, the surgeon will do the best they can to fix your meniscus. In many cases, however, meniscal tears are not repairable and so a piece of the torn tissue will be removed to fix the injury.

Whether you need surgery or not to heal your meniscus tear, conservative treatment methods will get you on the path to recovery for quick and complete meniscus tear healing.

Blood Supply = Essential for Meniscus Tear Healing

Meniscus tears are known to receive very little natural blood supply. This is especially true if your tear is located in the Red-White or White zone of the meniscus (closer to the center of your knee). It's the lack of blood flow around your tear that makes meniscus injuries so hard to heal. Healing is tough no matter what course of treatment your doctor suggests - ice, heat, physical therapy or surgery. It's no secret that no matter how your doctor suggests you treat your medial meniscus tear, you really need to get as much blood flow to your meniscus as you can to allow your body to heal the damage as best it can.

The most amazing thing about most small torn menisci is they are capable of healing itself - but they need your help!

The body uses your blood supply to heal its menisci - this means that its ability to heal is dependent on the strength of blood flow. Even if you don't receive enough natural blood flow to the location of your meniscus injury, you can still treat yourself in a way that gives your natural blood flow the boost it needs to reach further into your meniscus tissue.

Conservative Treatment Tools Our Clients Have Used to Help Limit Damage & Boost The Body's Soft Tissue Repair Process to the Knee at Home:

  • A Cold Compress or Ice Pack to reduce inflammation wherever there is pain and/or swelling (as soon as possible).
  • A Knee TShellz Wrap to increase blood-flow to the knee area (a Localized Enhanced Circulatory Response® Treatment).
  • MendMeShop Arnica Pain Cream for temporary relief of pain due to sore muscles and joints.
  • A High Quality Knee Pillow if you are experiencing discomfort when resting or trying to sleep (or you want .
  • A Knee Compression Support Sleeve for light tendon/muscle support and risk reduction of further injury.
  • An Exercise & Stretching Plan to prevent muscle atrophy and shortened tendons in the Knee joint. A proper plan will increase elasticity and strengthen the muscles and tendons in the hip, knee, and ankle.

Conservative treatment tools just like these have been used successfully by thousands of knee injury sufferers - just like you.

TShellz Wrap® = Enhanced Blood Flow in the Treatment Area

We believe the use of TShellz Wraps® for boosting blood flow to soft tissue in the area of application is one of the most under-utilized home treatment options available on the market today. We have client after client that have tried many options out there and have been amazed at how effective and fast the TShellz Wrap treatment helped relieve their pain while increasing blood flow in the knee.

With regular use of the Knee TShellz Wrap:

  • Your pain will be reduced*.
  • Due to increased blood flow, soft tissue in the treatment area on the knee will be expected to recover at an accelerated rate with reduced potential for re-injury*.
  • Tissue in the treated area should experience a larger range of motion and increased extensibility of collagen tissue* due to the heat effect on soft tissue. This should translate into a reduced rate of re-injury occurrence as soft tissue is known to lengthen and become more flexible when exposed to warm temperature. (*Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. (amazon.com link - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)

Is Surgery Required?

location of your torn meniscus matters for healing

After you find out how bad your meniscus tear is, what's next? Your doctor will be deciding if your tear requires surgery to clean it up or fix it. There are a lot of options available to you with healing with or without surgery during your recovery. Your healing will be influenced by the situation you're facing whether you're trying to heal without meniscus surgery, heal after a surgical repair or heal after a meniscus clipping or complete removal (partial or full meniscectomy).

Healing Your Meniscus Tear without Surgery

Red-Red zone tears heal best with conservative treatments and few tears in that area require surgical repair. If the tear is less than 3 mm from the outer edge of the meniscus you will have success healing the tear on your own with conservative treatment methods. The lateral and medial meniscus tear types that respond well to conservative treatment include:

  • Posterior horn of the medial meniscus size under 1.5 cm
  • Anterior horn of the lateral meniscus size under 1.5 cm
  • Discoid lateral meniscus under 1.5 cm
  • Peripheral tear size under 1.5 cm
  • Acute medial meniscus vertical tear, bucket handle (Longitudinal) size under 1.5 cm
  • Chronic medial meniscus vertical tear, bucket handle (Longitudinal) size under 1.5 cm

If you have been diagnosed with a small meniscus tear (like the ones mentioned above) then your doctor may recommend some of the following conservative treatments to get you on the path of healing and recovery:

Healing Your Meniscus after Surgical Repair,
(Meniscus Surgery Rehabilitation)

Red-White zone meniscal tears will most likely require surgery to suture the tissue or clip away a small part of the damaged tissue in order for it to heal. Tears that can be repaired surgically usually occur in an area of good blood supply in the meniscus. Acute injuries are typically the type of tears that can be repaired, and could be repaired with arthroscopic surgery within 3 to 6 weeks of the initial injury. Usually, some types of tears that can be surgically repaired include:

  • Longitudinal, bucket handle (in good condition) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Acute vertical tear, bucket handle (longitudinal) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Acute oblique vertical cleavage, parrot beak, double flap (radial/flap) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Chronic vertical tear, bucket handle (longitudinal) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Chronic oblique vertical/horizontal cleavage, parrot beak double flap (radial/flap) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Damaged oblique vertical/horizontal cleavage, parrot beak, double flap (radial/flap) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Degenerative tear/damage size 1.5 to 4.0 cm

Surgery is just the beginning of a new journey because after surgery you'll need to stay focused on recovering completely and healing the damage in your knee. Your doctor, surgeon and/or physical therapist will guide you through recovery after surgery. Your recovery process will start by using conservative treatments at home. The first step is managing your pain and dealing with your swelling, inflammation, edema and fluid build-up. This can be done with effective cold compression through use of a Cold Compress or Ice Pack. This will be key in the first 4 to 5 days after your surgery. During this time you are adhering to the RICE formula to allow the area to calm down and relieve your pain.

  • R = Rest
  • I = Ice
  • C = Compression
  • E = Elevation

After spending some time with initial recovery of rest and cold compression, the 2nd step of your rehab will be physical therapy and strengthening of the tissue around your knee. This is especially true if you're immobilizing your knee after surgery with a cast, brace or by using crutches. Long-term immobilization of your knee can lead to massive amounts of scar tissue that stiffens the entire area and causes your surrounding muscles (quadriceps, hamstring) to atrophy (waste away). Your dedication to recovery will eventually be tested with your adherence to continuing on with passive stretches and exercises at home.

Another key ingredient to your healing is blood flow supply. As you know by now, the meniscus is an area of the body with very limited blood supply. If your meniscus has been repaired and your tear was located in the red-white zone of your meniscus, then some of your tissue will not receive enough blood flow. Lack of blood flow will decrease your rate of healing, making it incredibly slow.

We believe the use of TShellz Wraps® for increasing blood flow to the knee is one of the most under-utilized home treatment options available on the market today. We have thousands of customers that have tried many options out there and have been amazed at how substantial the impact of this device has been. In our opinion, the Knee TShellz Wrap® is ideal for treatment during your entire recovery process, after the swelling and inflammation have been reduced. A TShellz Wrap® allows you to increase your blood flow while resting comfortably.

Ask any doctor and they will tell you that the success of your surgery depends on your level of dedication to regular at home care of your meniscus repair. Most of our meniscus injury post-op clients have treated themselves successfully through regular use of home conservative treatments such as use of a Cold Compress or Ice Pack, a Knee TShellz Wrap® and passive stretches for the knee.

Healing Your Meniscus after Full or Partial Meniscectomy Surgery

White-White zone meniscus tears won't heal on their own because this area of the meniscus has no blood supply which is why it's described as a 'white zone'. Surgery is necessary to prevent the tissue from completely degrading, tearing loose and locking the knee causing permanent damage to the tendons, ligaments and muscle atrophy in the leg. Your surgeon will remove all or clip away the flap of loose meniscus tissue. This type of surgery is needed when you suffer from:

  • Acute vertical tear, bucket handle (longitudinal) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Acute oblique vertical cleavage, parrot beak, double flap (radial/flap) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Chronic vertical tear, bucket handle (longitudinal) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Chronic oblique vertical/horizontal cleavage, parrot beak double flap (radial/flap) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Damaged oblique vertical/horizontal cleavage, parrot beak, double flap (radial/flap) size 1.5 to 4.0 cm
  • Complex degenerative tear size 1.5 to 4.0 cm

Partial or complete meniscus removal surgery (meniscectomy) may leave you pain free... So for you, a new chapter begins with being pro-active to reduce the risk of further degeneration to your articular cartilage, bone(s) and what meniscus you have remaining. Further degeneration from here would typically mean more surgery. Pro-active means undertaking conservative treatment options on a continual basis.

The goal of a conservative treatment protocol for a patient that has already undergone meniscus surgery is to reduce the speed of degeneration of the knee joint, and hopefully prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.

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During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!


Meniscus Injury Facts:

Knee injuries are very common, meniscus injuries occur in most sports, but most commonly occur in contact sports.

Meniscus Injuries often occur in combination with ligament injuries, particularly when the medial meniscus is involved.

Injury to the medial meniscus is about 5 times more common than injury to the lateral meniscus.

Oral medications can mask the pain but do not aid in the healing of meniscus injuries. Pain killers can lead to further injury if the patient continues to put load on a damaged meniscus since there is an absence of pain.

Peak incidence of acute meniscal tears happens in men aged 21 to 30 and in women aged 11 to 19.

Degenerative meniscal tears occur most often in men aged 40 to 60 years of age.

Now.Aapmr.Org. Accessed July 29 2019. website


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