how painful is a meniscus root repair

How Painful is a Meniscus Root repair?

Today, we’re embarking on a fascinating journey into knee injuries, the captivating world of meniscus root repair, and how painful is a meniscus root repair. Imagine watching your favorite athlete, a true force of nature, gracefully dominating the field. Suddenly, disaster strikes and a misstep sends them tumbling, clutching their knees in agony. Ouch! But fear not because the quest to restore full mobility and return to their superstar selves begins with the incredible procedure known as meniscus root repair.

Get ready to dive headfirst into this incredible adventure, where we’ll uncover the ins and outs of this surgical technique. We’ll discover the challenges faced, the triumphs celebrated, and the different pain levels experienced by those brave individuals who undergo this transformative procedure. So, sit back, relax, and join me as we explore the beautiful world of meniscus root repair—a journey filled with resilience, hope, and maybe even a few heartwarming anecdotes. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What is a meniscus root?

The meniscus root is where the C-shaped portion of cartilage in the knee, called the meniscus, connects to the bone. There are two menisci in each knee. 

The medial meniscus is on the inside, and the lateral meniscus is on the outside. The menisci are important because they protect the joint, spread the weight, and keep it stable when moving.

The meniscus connects to the tibia (shin bone) at the meniscus root. It’s at the inside edge of the meniscus and acts as a point of support. The root is crucial for stabilizing the meniscus and ensuring it works right.

What is meniscus root repair?

Meniscus root repair is a surgery that restores a torn meniscus by returning its connection to the meniscus root. A meniscus tear at the root can affect how stable and well the meniscus works. This can cause pain, swelling, and weakness in the knee.

During a meniscus root repair, the surgeon tries to reattach the torn meniscus to the tibia (shinbone) at its normal attachment point. Most of the time, the surgery uses minimally invasive arthroscopic methods, which involve making small cuts and putting a tiny camera (called an arthroscope) and special surgical tools into the knee joint.

The surgeon carefully looks at the tear and gets the meniscus and root ready to be fixed. The torn meniscus is subsequently repaired to the tibial plateau with sutures, pins, or other devices. This keeps the knee in the right place and keeps it stable. The type of tear and the surgeon’s taste can affect the choice of technique and repair method.

Meniscus root repair is best when the tear is close to the root of the meniscus, and the tissue is healthy enough to be fixed. This treatment aims to restore the knee to its normal biomechanics, save the meniscus, and improve long-term joint health.

After meniscus root repair, the knee has to be immobile for a while, and then a slow therapy programme has to be done. Physical treatment is key to returning the knee to full strength, range of motion, and function. The time it takes to get better depends on the person and the severity of the damage.

If you have a torn meniscus root, you should talk to an orthopaedic surgeon to find out if meniscus root repair is the right treatment for you. They can fully evaluate, discuss the different choices, and help people recover.

What causes a meniscus root tear?

A meniscus root tear can occur due to various factors and mechanisms, including:

Acute traumatic injury

A sudden, forceful knee twisting or pivoting motion can lead to a meniscus root tear. This can happen during sports activities, particularly those that involve quick changes in direction or sudden stops.

Degenerative changes

Over time, the meniscus can become weakened and more susceptible to tears due to degenerative changes associated with ageing. These degenerative tears may occur gradually without a specific traumatic event.

Repetitive stress

Activities involving repetitive stress or excessive knee joint loading, such as squatting, kneeling, or heavy lifting, can contribute to meniscus root tears, particularly in individuals with pre-existing degeneration or weakened meniscus tissue.

Pre-existing conditions

Certain factors can increase the risk of meniscus root tears, including pre-existing knee conditions like osteoarthritis, ligamentous instability, or abnormal knee alignment. These conditions can alter the mechanics of the knee joint and put increased stress on the meniscus, making it more vulnerable to tears.

Age-related changes

As individuals age, the meniscus may become more susceptible to tears due to natural wear and tear, decreased tissue elasticity, and diminished blood supply to the meniscus root region. This can make the meniscus more prone to tearing with less forceful movements.

How can you understand that you should have repaired your meniscus root?

A qualified healthcare professional, typically an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in knee injuries, should determine whether a meniscus root repair is necessary. They will evaluate your condition based on various factors, including your symptoms, physical examination, and diagnostic imaging results. Here are some indications that may suggest the need for meniscus root repair:

Persistent knee pain

If you have ongoing or recurring knee pain that doesn’t get better with rest, physical therapy, and painkillers, it could be a sign of a meniscus root tear that needs surgery to fix.

Locking or catching of the knee joint

A torn meniscus root can cause the meniscus to move abnormally within the joint, leading to the knee “locking” or “catching” when moving. If your knee gets stuck or feels like it’s stopping, it could be a sign that the meniscus root is torn and needs to be fixed.

Instability or giving way of the knee

A torn meniscus root can make the knee joint less stable. This can make the knee feel unstable or like it’s “giving way” when you move. If you have these problems often, it could mean that you need meniscus root repair.

Imaging findings

Diagnostic imaging, like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can show detailed pictures of the knee joint, which the operator can use to figure out how big and where the tear is. If the tear goes all the way to the root of the meniscus, it may be time to fix it.

Functional limitations

If a torn meniscus root makes it hard for you to do daily activities, sports, or movements you enjoy, your doctor may suggest a meniscus root repair to get your knee back to working well and improve your quality of life.

How serious is a meniscus root tear?

A torn meniscus root is a serious knee injury that can greatly affect how well and how stable the knee works. The severity of a meniscus root tear can vary based on where and how big the tear is, how active the person is, and if they have any other knee problems or injuries.

The meniscus root stabilises the meniscus and ensures the load is spread evenly in the knee joint. When the meniscus root tears, it can make the knee unstable, change how the knee moves, and even have long-term effects if it is not fixed.

Due to the limited blood flow to the area, a torn meniscus root is unlikely to heal independently without surgery. If the tear isn’t handled, it can cause knee pain that won’t go away, swelling, knee locking or catching, and less knee function. It may also make the knee joint more likely to get osteoarthritis over time.

A meniscus root tear can be treated well if caught early and given the right treatment. Meniscus root repair surgery is often done to reattach the torn meniscus root to the bone to restore stability, stop further damage, and improve long-term results.

How painful is a meniscus root repair?

Different people feel different amounts of pain during a meniscus root repair. During the healing process, some people may only feel a little pain, while others may feel a lot. It’s crucial to remember that everyone experiences pain differently depending on their pain tolerance, the severity of the damage, and the technique used during the surgery.

Generally, the time right after surgery, which usually lasts a few days, can be the most painful. During this time, people may feel pain, swelling, and stiffness at the place where the surgery was done. Doctors usually give you painkillers to help you manage this initial pain and make healing easier.

As healing continues and rehabilitation routines start, pain levels usually decrease gradually. Physical treatment is key to strengthening the knee, increasing its range of motion, and easing pain. It is important to follow your doctor’s rehab plan and let your doctor know if you are worried or in a lot of pain so they can change the treatment.

It’s important to note that surgery, anaesthesia, and pain management improvements have helped make meniscus root repair a better total patient experience. Even though pain is a normal part of the healing process, doctors and nurses try to keep patients as comfortable as possible and support them as they get better.

The pain a person feels during a meniscus root repair will depend on the person. For a good recovery with little pain, it’s important to talk openly with your doctor, do what they tell you, and stick to their pain management plan.

What is the success rate of meniscus root repair?

Meniscus root repair surgery has a different success rate based on many things, such as the type and location of the tear, the patient’s age, the overall health of the knee joint, and the surgical technique used. It’s important to remember that the meaning of “success” used in different studies can also affect success rates.

Overall, studies have shown that meniscus root repair has a success rate, especially when done on the right kind of tears in the right kind of people. Success is usually described as getting the meniscus to heal and work again, getting rid of symptoms, and improving the knee.

A recent study shows that the rate of success for meniscus root repair is between 70% and 90%. Most of the time, the success rate is higher for acute tears (tears that come on quickly) than for chronic tears (tears that get worse over time). Also, tears that are closer to the root of the meniscus tend to heal better than tears that are farther away.

Meniscus root repair is more likely to work if the patient follows the post-surgery therapy plan, the surgeon is skilled and has a lot of experience, and the knee joint is in good health and stable overall.

Talking to an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in knee injuries is important to determine if meniscus root repair is the right treatment for your situation. They can tell you more about the expected success rate based on your situation and help you choose the best option.

Will walking on a root tear meniscus make it worse?

Walking with a torn meniscus root could worsen the condition or worsen the symptoms depending on the depth of the tear and the person’s situation. But it’s important to remember that walking on a torn meniscus root can affect different people differently.

In some cases, walking may not make the tear worse or make the symptoms worse. This is especially true if the tear is steady and not causing any mechanical problems or too much pain. In other cases, however, walking can make the torn meniscus root hurt more, cause it to swell up, and cause more damage.

The effect of walking on a meniscus root tear depends on how bad the tear is, how unstable the knee joint is, and how much pain a person can handle. It’s important to pay attention to your body and notice any signs of more pain or discomfort when walking or doing other things.

If you have a tear in the root of your meniscus, you should talk to an orthopaedic surgeon or doctor specialising in knee injuries. They can look at your health, see how stable the tear is, and advise you on changing your activities, such as walking.

Sometimes, your doctor may suggest using crutches or a knee brace to take pressure off the injured knee and lower stress on the meniscus root when you walk. Physical therapy exercises and methods may also help stabilise the knee and ease the pain.

In the end, walking on a torn meniscus root can have different effects, so it’s best to talk to a doctor about what amount of activity is safest and least likely to cause more damage or worsen symptoms.

How long after meniscus root repair surgery can you walk?

When a person can walk again after meniscus root repair surgery depends on several things, such as how fast they heal, how bad their accident was, and what kind of surgery was done. It’s important to do what your orthopaedic surgeon and physical therapist tell you to do since they can tailor their advice to your situation. However, here are some broad guidelines:

Immediate postoperative period

During the first few days after surgery, you may need crutches or a walker to help you move around. This is usually done to protect the meniscus while it heals and to let it start getting better. The time you need to use crutches can vary, but most people are told to use them for the first few days or weeks.

Weight-bearing restrictions

Your doctor may tell you not to put weight on the injured leg for a certain amount, normally 4 to 6 weeks. This lets the meniscus root patch heal properly and makes it less likely that the knee will hurt again. You might need to use crutches or a knee brace to help you move around during this time.

Gradual progression to walking

As your recovery goes on, and with the help of your healthcare team, you will gradually start to put more weight on your leg and move towards walking. Most of the time, this progression involves partial weight-bearing exercises, like using a walker or crutches at first and then eventually relying less and less on them as you can handle it.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation

To get better, you need to follow an organized physical therapy programme. Your physical trainer will show you exercises to help you get stronger, more stable, and able to move more. They will also tell you when it is safe to switch from having someone help you walk to going alone.

What is the recovery time for meniscus root repair?

The recovery time after meniscus root repair surgery can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s healing ability, the extent of the injury, the specific surgical technique used, and adherence to rehabilitation protocols. While every person’s recovery is unique, here is a general timeline that may give you an idea of what to expect:

Initial recovery phase (0–2 weeks):

  • Immediately after surgery, you will likely experience swelling, pain, and limited mobility.
  • During this phase, you will be advised to rest, elevate your leg, and apply ice to reduce swelling.
  • You may need crutches or a walker to assist with mobility, and weight-bearing may be limited or prohibited.

Rehabilitation phase (2-6 weeks)

  • As your healing progresses, you will begin physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises.
  • The focus will be on regaining the knee range of motion, strengthening the surrounding muscles, and improving stability.
  • Partial weight-bearing with crutches or a walker may be introduced gradually.

Intermediate phase (6-12 weeks)

  • During this phase, you will continue progressing in your physical therapy, focusing on further strengthening and improving functional activities.
  • You may transition from assisted weight-bearing to walking without assistive devices, depending on your progress.
  • Your surgeon may allow you to resume low-impact activities and exercises as tolerated.

Advanced phase (12 weeks and beyond)

  • By this stage, you should have regained most of your knee strength and range of motion.
  • Physical therapy will focus on advanced strengthening exercises, balance training, and functional activities specific to your goals and lifestyle.
  • Following your surgeon’s and physical therapist’s guidance, you may gradually return to higher-impact activities and sports.

Can you drive after meniscus root repair?

Whether or not you can drive after surgery to fix the root of your meniscus depends on several things that should be discussed with your orthopaedic surgeon. It is important to do what they say and follow their specific directions. 

In the first few weeks after surgery to fix a torn meniscus root, it’s normal for people to be unable to bear their weight, use crutches or walkers, and have limited mobility and pain. Most of the time, driving at this time is not a good idea.

As your healing goes on and your therapist gives you the all-clear, you can drive again. Some things to think about are:

Pain and level of comfort

You should be able to sit comfortably for a long time and use the car’s controls without much pain or discomfort.

Mobility and range of motion

Your knees should be flexible enough and have enough range of motion to reach and use the pedals, turn the steering wheel, and do other necessary things properly.

Reaction time and stability

Your knee should be strong and stable enough to let you move quickly and precisely while driving, like braking or turning.

What are the best exercises for a medial meniscus root tear?

When you have a medial meniscus root tear, you should do exercises with the help of a trained medical professional, like a physical therapist or an orthopaedic surgeon. They can assess your specific condition and provide a tailored exercise programme to promote healing, improve knee stability, and enhance overall knee function. Here are some exercises commonly recommended for individuals with a medial meniscus root tear:

Range of motion exercises

  • Heel slides: Lie on your back, bend your knee, and slide your heel towards your buttocks while keeping your foot flat on the floor. Then, slowly extend your knee back to the starting position.
  • Straight leg raises: Lie on your back, keep one leg straight, and lift it off the ground until it is parallel to the other leg. Hold for a few seconds, and then lower it back down. Repeat with the other leg.

Strengthening exercises

  • Quad sets: Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Tighten the muscles on the front of your thigh (quadriceps) and hold for a few seconds. Relax and repeat.
  • Hamstring curls: Using an exercise band or cable machine, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly bend one knee, bringing your heel towards your buttocks. Control the movement as you lower your foot back down. Repeat with the other leg.

Balance and stability exercises

  • Single-leg balance: Stand on one leg while maintaining your balance. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then switch to the other leg.
  • Mini-squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees and lower your body into a partial squat, keeping your weight on your heels. Hold for a few seconds, then rise back up.

Low-impact cardiovascular exercises

  • Stationary biking: Use a stationary bike to perform low-impact cardiovascular exercise, which can help improve circulation and overall knee function without putting excessive stress on the joint.
  • Pool exercises: Engage in water-based exercises, such as water walking or swimming, as the buoyancy of the water reduces impact and provides gentle resistance.

Can a meniscus root tear heal on its own?

A tear in the root of the meniscus is not likely to heal on its own without surgery. The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee that works as a cushion, helps spread the weight, and keeps the knee stable. When the meniscus root, which connects the meniscus to the tibia (shinbone), is torn, the blood flow to the tear site is interrupted. This makes it hard for the tear to heal on its own.

Because it doesn’t get much blood, the meniscus can’t fix itself as well as it could. The blood flow is especially low to the inner two-thirds of the meniscus, which includes the root area. Because of this, a torn meniscus root is seen as a complicated and possibly unstable disease that often needs surgery.

Meniscus root repair surgery aims to reattach the torn meniscus root to the bone. This will help the meniscus to heal properly and restore its function and stability. Without surgery, the tear could cause long-term pain, swelling, and instability, and it could also speed up joint damage and make it more likely that the person will get osteoarthritis.

If you have a torn meniscus root or knee pain that won’t go away, you should see an orthopaedic expert who specializes in knee injuries. They can examine your condition, order the right imaging tests (like an MRI), and suggest the best treatment. Depending on the details of your case, this may include meniscus root repair surgery or other treatments. Early intervention and treatment can help improve results and prevent more problems.

How long does meniscus root repair surgery take?

The duration of meniscus root repair surgery can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the tear, the surgeon’s experience, the surgical technique used, and any additional procedures performed concurrently. Generally, the surgery takes approximately 1 to 2 hours.

The orthopaedic surgeon will make small incisions around the knee to access the meniscus during the surgery. They will then carefully reattach the torn meniscus root to the bone using specialized sutures, anchors, or other fixation devices. The procedure aims to restore the stability and function of the meniscus, promoting proper healing and reducing the risk of long-term complications.

It’s important to note that the duration of the surgery itself does not reflect the overall recovery timeline. After the procedure, a comprehensive rehabilitation program is typically prescribed to optimize healing, regain strength and range of motion, and gradually return to normal activities. After meniscus root repair surgery, the full recovery process can take several months, with a significant improvement usually seen within 3 to 6 months.

Remember that these are general estimates, and the specific duration of meniscus root repair surgery can vary depending on individual circumstances. It is best to consult with your orthopaedic surgeon to understand the surgery’s duration more accurately and obtain personalized information regarding your case.

How common is a meniscus root repair?

Meniscus root repair is a type of surgery that aims to reconnect the torn meniscus root to the bone. Meniscus root tears are fairly common, but meniscus root fixes don’t happen as often.

Meniscus root tears can happen to people of all ages, players and people who don’t play sports. They are often caused by accidents to the knee or wear and tear on the knee joint. But not all tears in the root of the meniscus need surgery to fix.

Whether or not to do a meniscus root repair relies on several things, such as the size and location of the tear, the person’s symptoms, their level of activity, and whether or not they have any other knee problems. In some cases, non-surgical treatments or partial meniscectomy may be better than surgery, removing the torn part of the meniscus.

Meniscus root repairs aren’t as popular as other surgeries on the meniscus, like partial meniscectomy. This is mostly because the process is hard to do technically and requires specialized surgical skills. There are also specific reasons why a root repair should be done. Meniscus root repairs are usually only done if the tear can be fixed. The goal is to fix the safety and function of the meniscus so that long-term problems don’t happen.

How to live with a root tear meniscus?

Living with a torn meniscus root can be hard, but there are ways to deal with the symptoms and changes you can make to your life to help improve your quality of life. Here are some tips on how to live with a torn root meniscus:

Seek medical advice

Talk to an orthopaedic expert specializing in knee injuries to discover how bad your meniscus root tear is and how to treat it. They can give you advice and treatment options tailored to you and your case.

Manage pain and inflammation

Manage pain and inflammation by taking over-the-counter painkillers or the medicines your doctor has given you. This will help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Putting an ice pack on the area can also help lessen pain and swelling.

Modify activities

Avoid or change activities that worsen your symptoms or put too much stress on the knee joint. This could mean doing less running or jumping and more swimming or cycling, both low-impact sports.

Physical therapy and exercises

Work with a physical therapist to make a unique exercise plan to strengthen the muscles around the knee and make it more stable. To improve knee function and lower the chance of further injury, these exercises may focus on a range of motion, strength, and balance.

Assistive devices

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may suggest using crutches or a knee brace to take pressure off your knee and support it while you go about your daily life.

Weight management

 If you stay at a healthy weight, your knee joint won’t have to work as hard, and the meniscus won’t be as stressed. Follow a balanced diet and do workouts with low impact to keep your weight in check.

Supportive footwear

Wearing stable and comfortable shoes can help keep your knee joint stable and relieve stress on the meniscus. Think about using orthotic inserts or shoes with the right cushioning and support for your arches.

Listen to your body

Pay attention to your body’s signals and avoid items that make you feel bad. Take breaks as needed, and avoid putting yourself through too much discomfort or doing too much.


What is the age that one should look at for a meniscus root repair?

Age shouldn’t be taken into account when a meniscus root repair is being done. As a person gets older, the health of the cartilage is the most important thing. I’ve fixed meniscus root tears in people 70 and 71 years old, and they were some of my happiest patients. One patient had an insufficiency fracture and spontaneous knee osteonecrosis (SONK) due to a root tear. She came in a wheelchair, and six years after her meniscus root repair, she has been able to walk and ride her bike again. Also, there is no minimum age for repairing a meniscus. Some root repairs have been done on people as young as 6 or 7. Especially these younger people need to get a meniscus root repair as soon as possible to avoid getting arthritis.

If a meniscus root fix doesn’t work, what can be done?

If you want to know if you can have a correction root repair, you need to find out what went wrong and how much arthritis you have. If the patient has or has developed severe arthritis, usually graded 3 or 4 on the Kellgren-Lawrence scale, a second root treatment may not be necessary. But if the meniscus tears again or is put in a position that isn’t natural and the cartilage surfaces are still mostly intact, a revision fix should be tried. For the revision root repair procedure to work best, it is important to ensure that the meniscus is completely free of scar tissue and that the sutures or UltraTape are placed in the best material possible.

What can cause pain after a fix of the meniscus root?

After a meniscus root fix, pain can be caused by several different things. One of the most common is in people who already have arthritis, and the pain is coming from arthritis, or arthritis has gotten worse after the meniscus root repair. Most of the time, this causes pain on the inside or middle part of the joint and swelling when the joint is used. This is because pain and stiffness are often the first signs of arthritis. Deconditioning of the quadriceps can also cause similar symptoms, so it is important to measure the length of the thigh 15 cm above the knee and compare it to the other leg to see if the thigh muscles have shrunk. Pain can also come from scars inside the joint, a normal side effect of surgery, or pain from other diseases and joints, like arthritis under the kneecap. In our practice, this is where most people with pain after a meniscus root repair fall. Even though this happens to a few people, it is nowhere near as common as the other causes mentioned above.

What are some problems that can happen after repairing the meniscus root?

A re-tear is the most common problem that can happen after a meniscus root repair. Even when everything goes well, this can happen to up to 20% of people. This is probably because of several things, like how long the tear has been there, how good the tissue is if the meniscus was freed from scar tissue and put back in the joint, and the person’s age, weight, and posture. Other problems can include a blood clot, usually prevented with a blood thinner, and soreness around the surgical button and/or knot, which a tear in the meniscus root can cause. Most patients will feel numb around the surgical incision, but this is not a real problem and can happen with any surgical wound.


"Hasan", I am a physiotherapy Doctor. I have completed my B.S.c course (4 years) under Rajshahi University, Faculty of Medicine, Rajshahi. Currently I am working as a clinical physiotherapist at a renowned physiotherapy center and I am continuing my MPT (Master's of physiotherapy) degree at CRP, Savar.

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