Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is a semi-circular piece of connective tissue inside your knee.  It acts as a shock absorber and helps to stabilize your knee.  You have two in each knee – a medial meniscus and a lateral meniscus.  Injury to the meniscus can cause pain, popping, locking, and instability in the knee, but new research suggests that physical therapy is just as effective as surgical intervention.

A Meniscus tear most commonly occurs from a plant and twist mechanism. It is also often found alongside damage to other knee structures.

– Previous injury. 

– Poor lower body mechanics. 

– Hip weakness.

– Pain in knee.

– Swelling. 

– Popping/locking/catching. 

– Reduced range of motion. 

– Difficulty walking.

At Home Diagnostic Tests

– Deep knee bend test (see video).


At Home Care

– Immediately begin edema protocol – compression, elevation, ankle pumps, ice/NSAIDs as needed. 

– Crutches as needed for walking. 

– Gentle range of motion.


When to Seek Help

If you are experiencing the above symptoms, please see your physical therapist immediately.  Your physical therapist will provide a comprehensive evaluation and determine if you need medical imaging or further assessment by an orthopedic surgeon, as well as provide immediate treatment to get you feeling and moving better – you won’t find this in an orthopedic quick care or PCP’s office!


Inspired Athletx Treatment

Both conservative management and post-surgical care follow a similar structure, with certain weight bearing and range of motion restrictions included after surgery.  The immediate goal is to reduce swelling, improve pain, and increase range of motion through a combination of manual therapy and active exercise.  Progressive return to activity will include general strength training for the core and lower body, improving lower body mechanics, overall mobility, and balance.  As the patient nears return to sport, the focus shifts toward sport specific activities, including running, jumping, and change of direction drills.