Knee Popping After Meniscus Surgery – Everything You Need To Know About
Since we have been talking about Meniscus surgery a lot lately, I wanted to make sure I don’t miss anything out. The last article discussed a specific type of tear in the meniscus called the bucket handle tear.
Although this tear can usually be fixed by trimming the edges of the tear, surgery may still be needed. For many who have undergone surgery, a knee popping after meniscus surgery is one of the conditions they have to face.
What causes the knee popping after surgery? Is it normal to experience such knee popping? What else can you expect to experience? Let’s get together the facts of these questions one by one.
The good news is that knee popping or snapping after surgery is as normal as experiencing knee pain after meniscus surgery. These noises can come from different sources such as the metal and plastic implants, fluid around the knee and tendons. If you have undergone a total meniscus surgery, the reason for the clicking is possible because of the replacement material used. (1)
Another possible cause is after the surgical repair of cartilage, your muscles and ligaments are out of shape and may tighten. Think of it as a door that hasn’t been used for a while, it screeches and squeaks when you use it.
During surgery, fluid is run through the knee for the surgeon to see through the scope. This causes the swelling of the knee which in turn causes the muscles to become weak and stiff after surgery.
No matter how ‘normal’ popping knees may be, nobody wants to hear sounds frequently. To help reduce the popping, some tips that have been recommended by doctors. These tips also apply to those who experience popping knees even without having undergone meniscus surgery.
Tips To Reduce Popping Sound
Most patients experience the popping or snapping sound when they engage in specific activities such as climbing up or down stairs or squatting. There are some suggested measures you can take in order to prevent or at least minimize the sensation. (3)
In some cases, the popping sound continues after surgery but there is nothing to worry about if this is the case. Unless you experience pain along with the popping, you will have to get used to your new popping knees and accept the change.
However, if the popping is caused by weak muscles, there are some leg strengthening exercises you can perform post-op in the comfort of your home. Here are four of the most common.
4 Postoperative Home Exercises to Regain Leg Strength
Before we go into the details of these home exercises, it is important to point out that you need always to consider the instructions of your surgeon. Some patients are told to avoid bending the knee or putting weight on it while others are instructed to put as much weight as they can bear.
It all depends on the kind of meniscus tear you had and the surgery that was performed. No two cases are the same. You can, however, select from among these exercises those that fit the criteria and restrictions given to you. (4)
#1. Straight Leg Raises
To perform this exercise:
#2. Quad Sets
To perform this exercise:
#3. Knee Flexion
You will need a chair for this exercise.
A word of caution about this exercise- if you have sutures and were instructed not to bend your knee, do not do this exercise. However, for meniscus replacements or trims, it is safe to perform this exercise.
#4. Calf Raises
You will need a chair to hold on to for balance.
Start with once a day and progress to three times a day.
Although a meniscus surgery may only take about half an hour and involve a few small incisions, it is still a major operation. Some patients are able to bounce back to full physical activity within a few weeks while others take months to recover.
It is important you remember that not all surgeries are the same and some factors can have an impact on how fast you recover.
For example, if you have more damage to the cartilage lining at the ends of the bones, you can expect a slower, more painful recovery.
Comparing your recovery with others will only end in frustration. Instead, focus on your own recovery, be happy with every small step you take and look forward to the time when you can get back to running.
Nobody likes to hear their knees popping after meniscus surgery but thankfully, there is nothing to be worried about if this happens to you. Knee popping is part of the healing process and often because of the muscles weakness after surgery. On the other hand, there is still a lot you can do to speed up recovery and get rid of the sound such as strengthening your legs with the four exercises mentioned.