The surgery is over. You have been given the all clear to walk again and are probably feeling a bit euphoric. But what do you do now? How can you sleep after meniscus surgery?
I know it’s not something that most people would expect, but it is an important thing to think about.
The knee is one of those things that is very difficult to get back to normal.
You need to work on it for a long time to make sure that you don’t go back to how you were before your operation.
So, how do you sleep? It’s not as simple as you might think.
First, let’s explain what the meniscus is.
- 1 What Is The Meniscus?
- 2 How To Sleep After Meniscus Surgery
- 3 Activity And Healing After Meniscus Surgery
- 4 Additional Sleeping Tips After Meniscus Surgery
- 5 What About Diet After Meniscus Surgery?
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Meniscus?
The meniscus is a shock-absorbing, cushioning tissue that helps to stabilize the knee joint and distribute weight evenly on the tibia.
It is located between the femur (upper leg bone) and tibia (lower leg bone).
- The menisci are often injured during an injury to the knee.
- The medial meniscus is located in the middle of the inside of the knee.
- The lateral meniscus is located in the outside of the knee.
When the medial meniscus is injured, it may be painful when the knee is flexed or extended.
When the lateral meniscus is injured, it may be painful when the knee is bent at an angle.
How To Sleep After Meniscus Surgery
Here are some things you can do after meniscus surgery, to help you get some proper rest.
Though you will not be able to completely alleviate the pain, these steps will certainly make your sleep experience better.
Take Your Medication
As soon as you wake up after surgery, take your prescribed pain medications and any other medicines that were prescribed before the procedure. If you’re taking any over-the-counter medications, take them before bedtime and not right before you go to sleep.
Keep Bandages Dry
The bandage around your knee should be kept dry, so that it does not become too tight.
Make sure you do not put pressure on the bandage, or else it can cause the swelling in your knee to go down.
Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Both alcohol and smoking have a sedative effect on the body. If you are prone to sleep problems, try avoiding both of these things.
Have a Warm Bath
A warm bath is an effective way to relax and unwind after surgery. You may even want to use some Epsom salt in the bath to help with the soreness and pain in your knee.
Try to Go to Bed Early
Go to bed early after your surgery. It helps to get more rest and will help your body heal faster. When you wake up in the morning, it may be a little stiff and sore, but you should not experience any pain.
Sleep On A Memory Foam Mattress
A memory foam mattress, such as Nectar, not only provides extra comfort; it can also encourage a sleeping position that improves the posture of your body. This can help reduce pressure points on the surgery area.
Lay On Your Back
You should lay on your back while sleeping after a meniscus surgery, with your knee elevated. This is especially important the first few days. Try not to bend your knee; just raise your legs.
If you are feeling stressed out, try to calm down before going to bed. Take deep breaths and focus on your breathing. Relaxing the mind and body is very beneficial in the recovery process.
Activity And Healing After Meniscus Surgery
Here are a few tips to encourage quicker healing after your meniscus surgery, by doing a little activity.
Rest When You Feel Tired
If you have knee pain and stiffness, rest the knee when you feel tired. When you wake up in the morning, take it easy for at least two days. Don’t do any activity which will make your knee sore.
Take A Shower
After 24-48 hours post surgery, you should take a shower. Make sure you use the shower that has a gentle warm water. This will help to speed up the healing process. The first few days after meniscus surgery, it is important to avoid cold showers.
Keep Your Knee Flexed
Don’t keep your knee straight for a long time. Keep your knee slightly bent. In the early stages of recovery, your knee should be kept slightly flexed. This will help to prevent swelling and pain. If you bend your knee too much, it might cause swelling and pain in the knee joint.
You should avoid running for at least 3 months after your meniscus surgery. It is best to walk as much as you can. If you are able to do some light exercises, you can do them. Don’t push yourself to do anything more than what you are capable of doing.
Use Ice Packs
Ice packs are very helpful to speed up the healing process. After 24-48 hours post surgery, apply ice packs to your knee. The ice pack should be applied for about 10 minutes every 2 hours. It is recommended that you don’t use a bag filled with ice.
Do Rehab Exercises
If you have a lot of knee pain, it is best to go through rehabilitation exercises. This will help to improve your knee joint flexibility. You can do a few simple exercises which will help to prevent swelling and pain in the knee.
Additional Sleeping Tips After Meniscus Surgery
Below are some other methods, or products that can help your healing process move along quicker:
Consider A Zero Gravity Reclining Chair
If you are not able to lie flat in bed for long periods of time after knee replacement, consider a zero gravity reclining chair.
It can help keep your back straight and reduce your knee pain.
If you need to lie down, the chair can make it easier to get comfortable.
Sleep On Your Side With A Pillow
Under Your Knee Place a pillow under your knee if you are sleeping on your side. This will help prevent your knee from being pushed into your stomach.
Consider A Proper Mattress
A mattress that is too hard or too soft can cause pressure points on your legs and knees. You should consider a memory foam mattress to help avoid these points. For more information you can check out our Best Memory Foam Mattresses Under $2000 article.
Practice Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises help keep your lungs and chest muscles stronger. They also help keep your heart healthy. If you’re having trouble sleeping after meniscus surgery, breathing exercises can help relax you and increase circulation.
What About Diet After Meniscus Surgery?
It is ok to eat your normal diet after meniscus surgery. However, you may experience loose stools.
This is common. If it happens, bland foods like yogurt, chicken, rice etc can be helpful.
Avoid fatty foods and spicy foods.
Constipation After Surgery
You can have a bowel movement after your meniscectomy.
However, you might need to spend more time in the bathroom. This is due to the loss of your meniscus.
If you are having issues with constipation, try eating more fiber and drinking more water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I sleep with knee brace after meniscus surgery? You will use what’s known as a knee immobilizer, which keeps the knee from moving too much and helps repair it. Typically they are worn the first 3 weeks.
How bad is the pain after meniscus surgery? The soreness after surgery can be pretty painful; especially in the surgery are. It usually takes 2-3 weeks before the pain subsides.
Why does my knee hurt worse after meniscus surgery? It is possible to experience more severe knee pain post surgery. Dr. Howard Luks states “Because a portion of the meniscus has been removed, the bones around the knee joint “see” more stress when you walk and they react by becoming very inflamed and can actually at it’s worse, cause a stress fracture which is quite painful.”