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What Happens if You Don’t Repair a Torn Meniscus?

What Happens if You Don’t Repair a Torn Meniscus

                    A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. It can happen from an unexpected twist or turn sudden stops and starts, or even everyday activities such as climbing stairs or running.

What happens if you don’t repair a torn meniscus? Let’s take a closer look at the risks associated with not repairing a torn meniscus. 

Pain and Discomfort 

One of the most obvious signs that something is wrong with your knee is pain and discomfort. Without proper treatment, the pain associated with a torn meniscus can become worse over time, leading to chronic discomfort, swelling, and reduced mobility. In some cases, this could even lead to long-term disability if left untreated. 

Joint Damage 

A tear in the meniscus can cause further damage to the joint if not repaired. This additional damage can cause further tearing within the meniscus and increase the forces on the knee joint cartilage. This translates to earlier arthritis in the knee which will only worsen any existing symptoms, such as pain, swelling, and stiffness. 

Decreased Mobility 

Repair a Torn Meniscus

Without proper treatment for a torn meniscus, your ability to move normally might be impaired due to pain or stiffness in the joint. This can limit your range of motion and make everyday activities more difficult or even impossible. 

If you are an athlete, this could also mean that you will no longer be able to compete at the same level as before because of decreased mobility in your knee joint. 

Suggested Reading: Meniscus Repair Everything You Need To Know

Risk of Arthritis Development 

When ignored for too long, a torn meniscus can cause increased forces on the surrounding cartilage of your knee joint, which increases your risk of developing arthritis later on in life.

Since arthritis is a degenerative condition that worsens over time, it’s important to catch any joint issues early so they don’t progress into something much worse down the line. Ignoring a tear in your meniscus could lead to this issue becoming far worse than it would have been if treated earlier on.  

Can a torn meniscus heal itself?

It depends on the severity of the tear. In most severe cases, a torn meniscus cannot heal itself or regenerate tissue, as there is no blood supply to the majority of the meniscus tissue. Only the outer one-third of the meniscus has a sufficient blood supply to heal. In older patients with degenerative tears, the injury can often become painless over time but does not ever heal. 

If pain persists, surgery may be necessary to repair or remove damaged tissue from a severely injured meniscus, depending on which treatment option your doctor recommends for you. 

How long does pain from a torn meniscus take to resolve?

The time for a torn meniscus to become painless can vary greatly depending on the severity of the tear and individual patient factors. Still, it usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks for a complete recovery. During that time, physical therapy is typically recommended to help strengthen the muscles around the affected area of your knee and improve your range of motion. Doctors often prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce swelling and manage pain. In certain circumstances, a cortisone injection can be used to help accelerate pain improvement and swelling resolution.   

What is it like to live with a torn meniscus?

Living with a torn Meniscus can be extremely challenging. It can bring about painful clicking that can limit one’s ability to walk, run, twist, or turn on their knee. Their range of motion and overall quality of life may be significantly reduced. The most common symptoms associated with a tear are pain, swelling, and mechanical symptoms in the knee, often felt as painful clicking.

This is because the meniscus acts as a cushion between your femur (upper leg bone) and tibia (lower leg bone). When torn, it becomes less capable of absorbing shock during movement, which puts greater stress on surrounding structures like the ligaments and cartilage. 


Without proper treatment, a torn meniscus can lead to long-term joint damage and mobility issues that can have serious physical consequences.

For these reasons, it is important to seek medical attention right away so that you can begin appropriate treatment for your injury before it worsens over time. Taking care of yourself now will help ensure you stay healthy and active for years to come.

See an Orthopaedic Surgeon. Contact Dr. Capogna @ 516-627-8717 or request an immediate appointment at https://www.orthopaedicassociatesmanhasset.com/request-an-appointment/.

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