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Meniscus surgery, opt for self-rehabilitation

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With the collaboration of Anne BAUMGARTNER, physiotherapist.

Your surgeon removed a fragment of your broken meniscus in your knee. In the following weeks, a few physical therapy sessions are recommended but self-rehabilitation is also very useful!


After removal of a portion of the medial meniscus, the recovery of sport is carried out after 6 to 8 weeks. We must add a fortnight when the action took place on the lateral meniscus. The deadlines also vary according to the size of the removed piece. The forties and other "seniors" often take a bit longer to recover. Your surgeon will give you all the details adapted to your case. Physical therapy should not be too intensive. Its main goal is to help you regain muscle without "forcing". The self-rehabilitation contributes and guides you through the recovery of your activities. At each step, the pain in eyes and swelling of the meniscus of the knee needed rest. If they persist, medical advice is necessary.

Damage to the meniscus, what is it?

There are two menisci in the knee. They look like two crescents placed between the tibia and the femur. They crash and sometimes break when the knee twist, flip or flexes strongly! Through their shapes banked corner, they contribute to the stability of the knee. Above all, they cushion the stresses and distribute the pressure on the cartilage. When the surgeon removes a damaged fragment, the interlocking of the joint is less good. We must wait and offer very progressive constraints to "mold the meniscal stump." The meniscus, although thinner find a suitable form. The self-rehabilitation is involved in this remodeling.

Objective 1: "articular awakening."

In 3-4 days after surgery, stay calm. Use crutches in case of pain. Give them quickly.

Fight against inflammation
If your knee is swollen, glaze it at least 3 times 20 minutes per day. Do not forget to protect your skin with a machine, typically a towel. Ideally, use an ice pack secured by specific knee.

Contract your muscles
Often, your thigh is a little difficult to operate. It has been compressed during the intervention by a tourniquet to prevent bleeding. Small scars are painful and inhibit contraction. We must awaken.

Exercise 1
Lie down, place a pillow under your knee. Pull the leg, crush the cushion! Stay contracted 3-10 seconds, release for the same period. Repeat 10 to 20 times. Repeat the operation every hour ... The night you are exempt!

exercise 2
As soon as possible, forward the "Year 1" of elevating your leg. well Stretch your knees, move your ball! Gently peel the heel bed then get your leg. Stay 1 to 2 seconds in the top position. Take care to slow the descent, it is also a very good muscular work.

move slowly
In 7 to 10 days after the operation, you must maintain the bending your knee without forcing. Do not exceed the right angle, the risk of fire on the small scars on the front of your knee.

exercise 3
While lying on your back, slowly bend your knee. Take the opportunity to rub your heels on the mattress. So you wake up and you do work the muscles on the back of the thigh, the hamstrings. Stay down a few minutes then slowly replace your knee extended. Slowly return tense knee.

exercise 4
Lying on your stomach, bend your knee, fit the heel. Stay right angle seconds. Go back down gently. Do the exercise 10 to 20 times. Again, you associate a work of joint mobility and muscle activity.

exercise 5
Once you easily reach 90 degrees of flexion, sit on a table. Leave knee bent and fit the foot, hold the position 3 to 10 seconds. Go back down slowly. Doing 5-10 reps.

Objective 2: "everyday life"

A good week after surgery, you can walk normally. It must also gain fluency in the stairs. To descend safely must bend to 110 ┬░.

Review, progress.
When the scars are closed, repeat previous years and have more flex. For your comfort, it is urgent to reach 110 ┬░. You quietly recover a comparable magnitude to the other knee during the following month. Warning, these exercises are done sitting or lying down, squats are prohibited.

Work in charge!
A walking or down stairs, each leg propels the body weight. We must gradually reconnect with these constraints.

exercise 6
Standing on your two legs, Bend knees slightly. Do not exceed 30 to 45 degrees. Ascend slowly. Make this movement 10 to 30 times. You can even completely press more on the healthy side. Thus, the operated side bends and stretches without compression. Under these conditions, this exercise can really be started in the days following the intervention. Then gradually switch your weight on the operated side. After a short week your gesture is symmetrical. After a good fifteen, you push exclusively with the operated side.

Objective: 'Sport'!
After 2-3 weeks, your strength is correct, your joint mobility exceeds 110 degrees. Your self-therapy will become sports.

Review, progress!
You realize the "Exercise 6" easily. Switch back a little on the healthy side but made the move on a mattress or sofa. The instability greatly increases the muscular work and seeking your coordination. Gradually, as your feelings, put more weight on the operated leg.

Ride a bike.
To pedal, you have to bend the knee to 110 degrees. At 15 days of your surgery, you can do it! Enjoy! With a bike or on flat ground, moulinez on low resistance. This is a good break to maintain your joint mobility and cast your meniscus. Gradually increase the resistance. Around 3-4 weeks after surgery, you put "dancer". Your gesture is similar to that of the race! After a month, start your cycling session with a few minutes of trotting.

Gradually increase the length and speed of your jog.
Go to gym.
After a month, if you have access to cardio machines, this is the ideal. Rower allows you to gain in flexion avoiding compression of body weight. The elliptical similar to the race but with symmetrical support and without shock. Thanks to the carpet, it is possible to work in limiting the impact of the steps. For this, put the slope! Start with brisk walking. Gradually incorporate the race on carpet in your cardio session. Increase the duration and reduce the slope.

Run, play!
Five to seven weeks after your surgery, you can easily run 30 minutes, start to accelerate. Vary speeds. A few sessions later, finish with lateral movements. Footballers are a bit of ball control, tennis players working on the wall. All reconnect with educational and technical sessions. Two to three months after surgery, you truly resume training. When you have found your feelings, if your knee bothers you more, you can attack the competition.

Doctor St├ęphane CASCUA. - 2 d├ęcembre 2013.

Conflicts of interest: the author or authors have no conflicts of interest concerning the data published in this article.


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