How long is disabled after a meniscus operation?

That depends on the extent of the operation. And also on the type of occupation. If only a so-called partial resection (only a small part of the meniscus removed), you can go back to work after about a week as a desk sergeant.

Meniscal tear, meniscal surgerySometimes there is also a sick leave for two weeks .. However, if you follow a physically active activity in which possibly even the knee must be bent more often, you must usually take at least two, rather even three weeks off. Tilers or physical education teachers have to stay longer than administrative employees.

It depends...

It looks different when different parts of the meniscus have been sewn together again. Then it is important for wound healing that the knee is not burdened for a long time, especially not bent. In addition to wearing a corresponding splint (knee joint orthosis) this means for the office worker 2-3 weeks inability to work, for the tiler or physical education teacher (as well as all other occupations affecting the knee) rather 6-8 weeks break.

All in all, it has to be said that there is no simple and blanket answer to the question of inability to work due to a meniscal tear. Every injury on the meniscus is a bit different, plus the different occupational stress. Ultimately, you have to clarify this in coordination with your doctor.

Author: Dr. med. Jörg Zorn

Read also:
When can the leg be fully loaded again after meniscal surgery?

Do you have your own experiences or a different opinion? Then write a comment (please observe rules).
Comments (29)
Meniscus partial removal
29 Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 22:14
At the end of April 2014 (then 53 years old) I had surgery on my right knee. Meniscus partial removal with cartilage smoothing.
I had the damage for 14 years and then I escaped from an operation through a lot of cycling. I was able to marathon, cycling, etc. Unfortunately, the Meniskusschaden by turning over while jogging again become acute, and the symptoms did not disappear even after a few months.
Therefore, I decided to an operation.
After 6 days with crutches I was able to strain the knee carefully again. Climb stairs after 2 weeks. After 5 weeks I started jogging again, walking and running in turns. I had physiotherapy and strengthened my knee - which I still do today.
Meanwhile, I walk again 35-40 km a week, but no more marathons. It is also important: Stretch a lot to get the mobility in the knee.
meniscus tear
28 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 10:27
So, after all these horror stories, I already had some reservations. I had a meniscal tear and cartilage damage.
The meniscal tear was operated on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. After the operation I had no pain. For ten days I walked around with crutches. But only because in the cartilage small holes were drilled.
Overall, I only had pain on day 2 and 3, but nothing wild. The swelling almost completely disappeared after 12 days, and after 2 weeks I was able to walk a few kilometers without crutches.
So it does not always turn out bad. And - I did not even do physiotherapy. It worked that way too!
I am male and 55 years old, cycle about 3000 km a year and do a lot of work at work. That too will have helped.
All a good recovery and / or a good course of an OP.
meniscus tear
27 Friday, December 15, 2017 at 00:48
Amina Oberlander
My partial resection was on 6/7/17 under local anesthesia. Then with the wheelchair home. The next day I drove back and was happy about the uncomplicated course. Four days after surgery then the drama. The knee was threefold, hot and I was in terrible pain. The massive swelling squeezed the nerves of sciatica, etc. My foot was numb. The pain throughout the leg unbearable. The next day to the doctor. He got panic. Knee punctured and the liquid sent to the lab. The doctor immediately started therapy with 5 different antibiotics. The result came only a week later, as cultures were created.In the meantime the 2.OP took place. The numbness did not work in the severely inflamed knee. That was the worst surgery I have experienced. For three days I had to pump myself to the many antibiotics even with morphine. Now, five months after surgery, my knee has doubled again and I can not walk anymore. Today was dotted again. The synovial fluid is totally bloody. I have been on sick leave since 6/7/17. It will take a while, if there ever is an improvement. By the way, those were staphylococci in my knee.
Inner meniscus partial resection right
26 Tuesday, 07th of November 2017 at 22:28
On 02.11.17 I had an outpatient partial resection of the right inner meniscus. This was done under general anesthesia. I spent almost 2 hours with the operating orthopedist. After the surgery, I was back in bed and slept. The next day I tried my walking aids and drove a car again. After four days then the first physiotherapy with lymph drainage and ice treatment - and then I felt the first time a slight pain in the knee. It's probably clear, because I really did spare the knee in the first few days. The pain is minimal, but tell me: slow! I work in the care and really stress my knees, so I will use the indicated by the doctor three to six weeks sick leave to be fully operational again.
But one thing I recommend everyone: use the prescribed physiotherapy and protect the knee!
meniscus tear
25 Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 18:13
An arthroscopy was performed 6 days ago, with the torn inner rim cus part removed. An hour after the Op I hobbled to the toilet. The next day I went with crutches in the hospital park a few laps and went up the stairs (with crutches). On the third day I came home and walked for about half an hour with crutches but I hardly needed. From day 4 I do not use crutches anymore and go for an hour's walk, after half an hour I take a break. Today is day 6 and I'm still slower than usual but one hour is no longer a problem.
Meniscus surgery
24 Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 22:41
Hello everybody
I had knee surgery early in the year - 2 meniscal tears in the same knee, Baker's cyst and more. Now, 3 months later, I'm still unable to work. Flexion deficit, extension deficit, oblique gait, hip problems, back problems, neck strain ...
The healing process is not the same for everyone and certainly it depends on the Physio Therapy. Mine has brought me nothing - on the contrary, today I am crooked and crooked, pain without end (in the back and knee) and I will not operate on my 2nd knee - bad experience :-(
Meniscus surgery
23 Thursday, March 09, 2017 at 13:25
My inner meniscus was touched, I had the surgery done on an outpatient basis, and the cartilage was smoothened as well. The surgery went well, but much pain afterwards. My knee is very swollen and has been punctured. One day later it was so thick again. The surgery is now two weeks ago, but I still can not walk properly. Can only be better ... ;-), you have to be patient with something like that. Not every course is the same, as is healing.
22 Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 10:38 pm
I myself had a meniscal tear in July 2011 after a car accident. Doctors urge for surgery. After the surgery, I went through hell. I had never felt such pain before. It took me 12 weeks until I could work conditionally again.
Now 5 1/2 years later and fully suffering after a long exposure, I had to return to the Op.
On 12.01 I was operated on. 6 days later I was able to fully load again. The whole time no significant pain felt. Now I enjoy the last week of the sick leave and will be able to work again after 21 days.
I think it also depends very much on who does the Op and if he understands what his craft is.
notification of illness
21 Monday, January 09, 2017 at 08:36
Hello, I had an arthroscopy surgery on January 4th and I was released home relatively quickly (January 6th). So today I usually need a sick leave message for my employer, but I'm in pain and do not think it's a good idea to burden my knee with going to the doctor. Is there a (common) procedure that can be used to solve this?
20 Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 2:32 pm
Huber Stefan
6 years ago had a meniscal partial resection under spinal anesthesia. Everything ambulant. After 10 days I was able to descend 1,000 altitude meters without complaints on a mountain hike. Perfect to this day. Now the other knee twisted during gymnastics. Findings Buckhenkelriss. Will again make an operation, this time with mild general anesthesia. Confidently hope for a similar recovery.
19 Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm
Knee twisted at work .. it cracked loud and clear ... Nevertheless, continue to do so. .. will be back ...2 early services and a late service went on nothing more ... MRI findings ... and now Monday Op ... 5 days before Christmas Eve. , What a great graduation for the year
hello liliana
18 Monday, 17 October 2016 08:24
Patience patience !! I had on 26.8. a meniscus-op (basket handle tear). Am z.z. still unable to work, go to rehab (physiotherapy), possibly work again from November. It just depends on the job, like you, so I'm on the job the whole day in the job. It takes time, what good is it, if the op-seam would rise again due to too early stress? Complications ...?!
Your pain after 2 days are unfortunately "normal". Get well !!
17 Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 11:58 am
Hello, I only had surgery two days ago. I have to say that I have hellish pain after that, even though I'm just lying in bed. In 14 days, the threads must be removed. I work in Wurstelstand (about 12 hours / day). When will I be able to work, I'm really scared
Stinging pain inside after meniscus surgery
16 Wednesday, the 05th of October 2016 at 18:43
Hello !
Was operated 8 weeks ago on the inner meniscus (tear). Was very painful. Since I can put weight on my left knee again, I have a stabbing pain on this knee inside when straining. The knee itself is not that good either. What can the stinging pain be?
Mfg Inge
Arthroscopy - the 2.
15 Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 08:34
2003 had my first arthroscopy on the left knee (meniscus tear). Pain only under heavy load - whatever was there - that was a permanent cracking noise and that with every movement.
I recommend a surgery (arthroscopy) for everyone, even with supposedly minor discomfort - because the risk of bad long-term damage is permanent if you do not do anything.
Have the operating room with general anesthesia in day clinic very well tolerated. No problems after that. Could run normally again after about 12 days. IMPORTANT: In the first few days, knees up + cool + light movements without full body weight. Then slowly "move out" the remaining fluid from the knee (which is why there is numbness in the knee - which is normal and disappears over time).
Since then, I was able to jog wonderfully and had no problems diving despite heavy effort during strong drift dives.
Why am I writing this "old camel"?
8 weeks ago, a motorist pushed me off the bike and injured my other knee.
MRI diagnosis: longitudinal tear meniscal + demolition.
Consequence for me: arthroscopy

The risk of a really severe knee injury without surgery would be permanently high, especially as long as I want to do sports. So my orthopedist. But since I want to continue doing that without fears, my decision is clear. Also by my very good experience with my 1st OP.
The basic requirement is, of course, always a good relationship of trust with the attending physicians, of course.
My conclusion:
The risk of complicated long-term injuries in the knee increases without surgery - that's my personal opinion. Even if such a minimal meniscal demolition in the knee may sound harmless. I feel a thousand times better when I know that this SANDKORN comes out of my knee joint in the TRANSMISSION ..
Meniscus op
14 Monday, May 30, 2016 at 5:46 pm
I had an operation today because of a tear in the meniscus. I can not say if I'm still in pain. At the moment the painkillers are still helping. But if I think that I could never squat down and hope to do sports again soon. And maybe playing football.
And if I hear here that an OP is never good. What can you do. if there is no other way. I can not say now if I would do it again .... But the surgery was half so wild ..... So do what your doctor and feel tells you.
Greetings to all who still have it ..... the anesthetic was awesome
Meniscus op
13 Monday, May 30, 2016 at 5:36 pm
Am a bus driver, how long do I have to wait until I can work again. Since I have very high responsibility towards the passengers ... I was a part of the meniscus removed and smoothed.
Pain after meniscus OP
12 Friday, January 22, 2016 at 11:31 pm
Hi Guys;
1. Anyone who gets knee pain after exercise or age, does not complain in the forum, but worried an MRI; and immediately!
Then he gets a 2.MRI, if supposedly everything should be OK despite pain! For me, a crack was overlooked after an MRI and then a nasty Lappenriss it, gross pain!
But I had a good clinic. How do you recognize a good clinic? Joint, sports or clinic (football association, Olympic training center etc.). The operation of the meniscus is stitched in a good clinic with Fast Fix by Smith & Nephew. Holds top. Dissolves later on.
So, I had the surgery because of Lapp break, can now jog again after 4 months! Patella is still a bit stiff! A 3rd MRI from the other knee then showed an initial tear (2 cm). 12 weeks after the first surgery, the next surgery.
Now I walk again completely normal and jogging again 50 km a week, before 100 km a week. I am 53 years old. Important: if you have an MRI, take a look for yourself. Googles after MRI cracks meniscus and compares: a crack can be seen by a light line in the tissue, the brighter the stroke, the more destroyed the tissue. Upside down people, that's half as crazy :)
Meniscus-Op plus anterior cruciate ligament after wheel accident
11 Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 22:47
I suffered a wheel accident on 30/11/15, in which fortunately "only" the right knee was badly damaged. Had directly max. Emergency diagnostics including imaging (X-ray, MRI, CT). I was quickly operated on (cruciate ligament and meniscus), left the KH on the 4th day with orthosis (10 degrees, 60 degrees), received at home (60 days) an electric "knee swing" (passive), have crutches and allowed 6 Weeks burden the right leg only with its own weight. During the first 2 weeks painkillers, rest and cooling of the knee plus 2x physio per week helped. This package is highly recommended, you need patience and a lot of rest, which can be unusual.
The success came "gradually and as if by itself": now I walk at home without crutches, outside under stress with crutches, pain under load max. 1 (from 0 to 10) :-), I can go 10,000 steps on the day, the diffraction is now at 90 degrees, I'm still AU and need this for recovery (even if I'm self-employed).
My goal is to be able to run again (hiking and jogging), can only recommend to "listen" to the body and despite movement urgency of rest to give first priority to healing.
However, I have lost the "good feeling" for the knee and do not know if slight pain in the muscular degeneration after the Op. lie or a load limit of Op-structures represent.
Only courage; left untreated, this seems to be a big problem, just as when "one" goes too fast into the burden, a few young football players have met with relapses ...
Torn inner meniscus
10 Friday, December 11, 2015 at 11:50
Had my knee twisted and MRI was found that the inner meniscus is torn, orthopedist says no surgery, it was not better for 5 weeks, just pain and limp. Have now physiotherapy and ultrasound and slowly it is now better.
It is said that surgery is too fast, if you go to the surgeon you will definitely be operated on. However, it takes even without surgery 3 to 4 months, until everything can be fully loaded again, so can do sports, so patience.
Meniscus removed
9 Thursday, 3rd December 2015 at 22:37
I have been operated on for a week. But was a bit out. I'm in pain now. From when you can go on it.
Everything went well
8 Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 07:42
I ran with knee pain for three months, only then did I decide to undergo surgery. Of course, an intervention is never pleasant, but I could not feel the actual pain right after the operation. After reading a lot of horror stories, today I can only say that I would have it done right away. It's all so wild. And now, almost 9 weeks after I'm almost fully loadable again :)
Meniscus OP
7 Monday, 07. September 2015 at 20:32
On this day the OR .... meniscus was sewn together, was folded before. Sleepless because of pain! I like to continue reporting!
Often it works much better
6 Friday, August 21, 2015 at 15:02
Navigator Team
Hello Simone,

Remember, those who did not do well write more comments than those who did not do well. In this respect, the comments are not necessarily representative (although each one of course has his permission).
Anyway, there are also many cases of such a meniscus surgery in which everything works well again afterwards with the sports.

All the best and kind regards
Your navigator team
Medial meniscus posterior horn tear
5 Friday, August 21, 2015 at 1:51 pm
The comments scare me ... Upcoming Athroskopie due to rupture of the inner meniscus horn. If I read the comments, there is only one who is doing well after the Op ... Alternative to the OP, probably rather difficult and tedious. Am unsure .. Cycling is not feasible.
meniscus surgery
4 Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm
Three days after my menopause surgery, I was able to get on the bike and ride a few miles under light load without pain. On the 4th day I sat in the car and drove also painless shopping. However, I cycled until 1 day before the surgery in the hope that the recovery time is reduced. Obviously, that worked.
Cartilage damage Meniscus-op
3 Friday, May 15, 2015 at 23:01
On 12.2. Accident at work, after 3 weeks only recognized cartilage damage - supposedly old. 17.3. Arthroscopy and milling with bore and aspirating fluid. Still no complete knee extension possible, no full load, pain when climbing stairs, swelling knees especially ankles. Foot can not be fully put on by lack of stretching. Allegedly all normal course.
Meniscus Op.
2 Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 8:48 pm
The op is already three months ago and still in pain and I can not walk properly to bend my knee as well
Problems after knee op
1 Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 11:06
The op is 10 months ago and still not better. Severe pain after low load (1.5 KM RUN QUASI IMPOSSIBLE), HE, NO OVERWEIGHT :-), MONTHLY draw liquid, doctor speaks of chronic inflammation, .. maybe ....