Take the weight off. Stand with your back against a wall, with your shoulders and head against the wall. A meniscus tear isn’t always painful, but it can cause swelling and instability in the knee. Strengthening Exercises Lie down and place a rolled towel below your left knee. Quadriceps setting. Often seen in sports and other physical activities, the injury is a tear … Hold this mini-squat position for 3 seconds. Don’t let your squat go so deep that your thighs are parallel to the floor. These tears occur over time and are most commonly seen in people who are middle-aged. You can also lie flat, if preferred. Follow the steps in this wikiHow article to heal a meniscus tear through medication, self-care, exercise… By working with your doctor and PT and by engaging in an active exercise program, you can quickly and safely return to your optimal level of activity and function. Be sure to keep your knee straight the entire time. Try the following exercises. Slowly slide your heel up towards your bottom, allowing your knee to bend as far as possible. Core strength and lower extremity alignment during single leg squats. Bend your knees slightly to bring your buttocks toward the ground. Do an additional set. This exercise works to strengthen the hamstrings and challenge the abdominal muscles. Anatomy of the meniscus. This exercise both strengthens the quadriceps and stretches the hamstrings, or the muscles that run up the backs of your thighs. Your PT can make sure you are doing it correctly. Slowly lift your heels up off the floor and rise onto the balls of your feet. A torn meniscus occurs because of trauma caused by forceful twisting or hyper-flexing of the knee joint. If you can do all that without pain, you move onto more … Plyometrics is a type of exercise that involves ​learning to jump and land properly. You begin basic exercises, like straight leg raises and toe raises. Focus on nonweight-bearing exercise such as swimming and cycling (outside or … Balance and Proprioception. Slowly lower the foot to your starting position. Working with your PT on balance and proprioception exercises may be an important component of your rehab program. Proprioception is your body's ability to understand where it is in your environment. This can help you restore optimal neuromuscular recruitment of the muscles around your hips and knees. Proprioception is your body's ability to understand where it is in … You can also hold on to a sturdy piece of furniture for balance. This is … Begin in a nice, upright standing position and put your one hand up against the wall. The adductor hallucis is a two-headed muscle that is responsible for flexing and contracting the big toe, and reinforcing the arch of the foot. A doctor may recommend removing the damaged tissue and suggest physical therapy exercises. Press the back of your knee down into the towel while tightening your quad muscle. Recovery will take about 6 to 8 weeks if your meniscus tear is treated conservatively, without surgery. Keep your ankles in a neutral position to prevent them from rolling towards the outer edges of your feet. Single leg stance (do this with your eyes opened or closed). Do 2 to 3 sets, with 8 to 10 reps per set. This e… Once you have your doctor’s approval to begin exercising, try some of these exercises to enhance your strength and stability following a meniscus tear. Bring your heels back toward your body, returning to your starting position. Try to keep your hips stacked on top of one another and as still as possible. Am J Sports Med. This exercise targets your hip abductors. Wrap a resistance band around your thighs before beginning the exercises. To do this … Do 25 total repetitions. The knee is the largest joint in the body. The “good” for torn meniscus exercise: leg press with light weight What is leg press The leg press is a machine at the gym, where you are seated or reclining back with your feet placed shoulder … Lower the right leg. Tip: If you feel any pain in your knee, don’t bend your knee as much. Restoring normal and pain-free knee range of motion should be one of the goals of your rehab. Stop at about 15 degrees of bend, feeling the muscles in your thighs working. Physical Therapy Can Help, Inner Knee Pain after Running: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Management, Back It Up: Benefits of Reverse Walking in the PT Clinic. Tip: Your top hip may want to migrate backward during the exercise. Doctors will often recommend physical therapy exercises to help stabilize the joint. If any exercise causes you pain or makes your knee feel unstable, stop doing it right away. Causes of Knee Tightness, and What You Can Do. A torn meniscus is a painful but treatable knee injury that occurs when the knee is turned with force while also bearing significant weight. NEngl J Med, 2013; 368: 1675-84. Heel Slides. Place a rolled-up bath towel or soccer ball underneath your injured knee. You should feel the muscles in the front of your thigh working. Bend your knees to about a 45-degree angle. Lie on your back with your injured knee out straight and your other knee bent. "Famous" Physical Therapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck demonstrate the Top 7 Exercises to be performed after a Meniscus Tear. Mini squats can help strengthen the quadriceps, large muscles at the front of the thigh, without putting... 2. Repeat the movement.Flexion ExtensionStart with one set of 5 reps in each direction. An acute traumatic tear most commonly occurs in young athletes. Your knee meniscus tear may cause you to have limited knee range of motion. To perform the short arc quad (SAQ) exercise: To perform mini squats in a modified position: Perform each exercise slowly and carefully, and be sure to stop if your knee pain increases. Engage your core. It can improve muscular endurance in your legs. 2016;44(3):609-17. doi:10.1177/0363546515620583, Physical Therapy Exercises for a Knee Meniscus Tear, Ⓒ 2021 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved. Your ability to ​do a full bend or straighten your knee may become painful or limited. In some older adults, a torn meniscus can also be caused by degeneratation in the knee joint. Perform this exercise in a smooth, controlled movement with a good contraction at the end of each of the movement. Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat the steps. Hold your straight leg up for a few seconds, and then lower it down slowly. This can reduce discomfort and movement restrictions. During this time, a physical therapist may use ice to reduce the swelling and pain. Repeat this exercise 8 to 10 times, then rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Your PT is a great resource to use while learning new balance and proprioception exercises after a meniscus injury. Low- Versus High-Intensity Plyometric Exercise During Rehabilitation After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. Slowly allow your heel to slide back to the straight-knee position. Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Stop doing the exercise if the pain continues. Meniscal tears are a common knee injury that don’t always require surgery to heal. Mini squats. Clin Anat. 9 exercises to try 1. A good rule of thumb is to always maintain your knee over your second toe to be sure it is in alignment while jumping. If left untreated, a torn meniscus can lead to knee instability, an inability to move your knee normally and persistent knee pain. Slowly bend your knee to lift the foot of your injured side toward your buttocks. Inside the knee are protective cartilages, including the articular and meniscal cartilage, which cushion the joints and provide stability. How much pressure is on a joint, and what position is the muscle in? The meniscus is a cushion like structure made of a fibrous cartilage.It fits within the knee joint between the tibia and femur.There are two menisci inside the knee joint – the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus.The medial meniscus is C-shaped and the lateral meniscus … https://orthop.washington.edu/patient-care/articles/sports/torn-meniscus.html There’s a lot of swelling and inflammation that needs to go down before exercises can be effective. In addition moving around with a torn meniscus … You can also try performing the exercise with a pointed foot. Lie on your uninjured side, with your hips stacked on top of one another and your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Symptoms of a torn meniscus include knee pain, swelling, popping, and giving way. This can help you return to high-level work and athletic activities. Stand your feet hip-width distance apart with your hands resting lightly on a chair or counter for support. Sometimes after a knee meniscus injury, your proprioception becomes impaired. This may occur due to a period of immobilization after your injury. Composed of three bones -- the femur, or thigh bone, the tibia, or shin, and the kneecap -- the knee is stabilized by four ligaments and cushioned by the … Cultura RM / Mike Titte / Cultura / Getty Images. You also might fe… This exercise can be performed while seated, which means you can do it almost anywhere. Physical therapy exercises in the clinic, and as part of a home exercise program, can help you recover fully from your meniscus injury. Here is how you do them: You can perform the straight leg raises in different positions. Hold the muscle contraction for 10 to 20 seconds. Doctors usually divide meniscal tears into two categories: acute traumatic tears and degenerative tears. Jonathan Cluett, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with subspecialty training in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery. Allow yourself time to recover. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Walking is also highly recommended for improving blood circulation around knee joints for torn meniscus recovery. Exercise therapy versus arthroscopic partial meniscectomy for degenerative meniscal tear in middle aged patients: randomised controlled trial with two year follow-up. The only way to know is to work with your PT; he or she can prescribe the right exercises for your specific condition. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Performing heel slides is a great way to improve your knee flexion range of motion. The zygomaticus major muscle…. Repeat 8 to 10 times. Lie on the floor with your left foot flat on the floor and your right leg extended. The knee may lock, and you may have trouble moving it. Treatment of a torn meniscus … Quadriceps setting. Research even shows that participating in physical therapy for a meniscus injury may help you avoid surgery for your knee. Your PT may use various modalities and treatments to control your pain or knee swelling or to improve the way the muscles around your knee contracts and supports the joint. Place your weight onto one leg, and then swing the other leg forward and backward. Read our, Medically reviewed by Jonathan Cluett, MD, Medically reviewed by Erin Pereira, DPT, OCS, Medically reviewed by Mohamad Hassan, PT, DPT, Medically reviewed by Laura Campedelli, PT, DPT, Verywell Health uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our, Meniscus Tear in Your Knee? Doctors don’t usually recommend starting a physical therapy routine immediately after a meniscal tear. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then slowly slide your body back to your starting position. The intensity is light. Lie down and bend your right … Do 2 to 3 sets with 8 to 10 reps per set. Your body's joints and muscles communicate with your brain, telling it where things are. Exercise … Lie on your stomach with your leg over the end of your bed. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.Each of your knees has two menisci — C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, and then bend your knee up. A meniscus tear is a common knee injury that often affects people who play contact sports. This puts too much pressure on your knees. Quadriceps setting is an isometric exercise to strengthen the front thigh muscles. The articular cartilage provides for smooth joint movement. The exercise helps regain full flexion of your knee and improves circulation as … In general, it is recommended you ride for 20 to 30 minutes, several days each week. 2006;38(5):945-52. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000218140.05074.fa, Fox AJ, Wanivenhaus F, Burge AJ, Warren RF, Rodeo SA. Bend the back knee towards the floor, but don’t let it touch. Keep your feet stacked on top of one another at all times, and slowly raise your top knee as far as possible without moving your low back and pelvis. See your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms after a suspected meniscal tear: You should also see your doctor if any of your symptoms worsen over time. Surgery versus Phyiscal Therapy for a Meniscal Tear and Osteoarthritis. Knee tightness or stiffness in one or both knees is a common issue. Allow gravity to slowly pull your knee into full extension. Repeat the exercise on the left leg. After a knee meniscus tear or injury, your physical therapist will likely have you work to improve your quadriceps function so your knee joint is adequately supported. Be sure you have a safe environment to exercise in and make sure you have something to hold onto while doing balance exercises. Get exercise tips to make your workouts less work and more fun. A torn meniscus often can be identified during a physical exam. Hold your knee straight for 3 seconds, and then slowly lower down. The nature of the injury, and a person’s symptoms, help a doctor determine treatments for a meniscus tear. (Flexion is the ability for your knee to bend fully.) Some balance exercises to do may include: Balance and proprioception exercises should be challenging, but you should always remain safe while performing them. Place a small rolled-up towel underneath your knee. Your PT Can Help, Strengthen Your Quads and Minimize Your Joint Stress, Otago Exercises in Physical Therapy Can Help Improve Balance, Physical Therapy Exercises to Treat Runner's Knee, Exercise Program for Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, participating in physical therapy for a meniscus injury, hip strength can have a direct effect on knee position, Exercise therapy versus arthroscopic partial meniscectomy for degenerative meniscal tear in middle aged patients: randomised controlled trial with two year follow-up, Core strength and lower extremity alignment during single leg squats, The human meniscus: a review of anatomy, function, injury, and advances in treatment, Low- Versus High-Intensity Plyometric Exercise During Rehabilitation After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. Quadriceps setting is an isometric exercise to strengthen … Now try to lift your leg so that your leg becomes straight. You move on to stretches that keep your leg muscles loose. Working with a physical therapist (PT) can help you regain maximal knee range of motion and strength and can help you return to your normal optimal level of activity. This exercise strengthens your gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, which together make up your calf muscles. Left untreated, a meniscus tear can limit your daily life and ability to participate in exercise and sports. BMJ. Mini-squats are another type of exercise that can strengthen the quadriceps. Flex your feet so only your heels are touching the ground. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Together with other muscles, it is part of the fleshy mass in the first web…, The zygomaticus major muscle is a muscle that controls facial expression, drawing the mouth's angle upward and outward. These exercises can put too much pressure on an already unstable knee. It is a non-weight-bearing exercise, which can limit stress and strain through your knee and injured meniscus. Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat the steps. This exercise is often a part of physical therapy for a torn meniscus after surgery. A torn meniscus is a tear in the cartilage of the knee. Slowly return your top knee to its starting position. Physical therapy exercises don’t necessarily heal the meniscus, but they can prevent stiffness. Slowly, in a controlled fashion, raise your right leg off the floor. If you have a knee meniscus tear, you may benefit from a physical therapy exercise program to rehabilitate your knee. Straight leg raises are a great way to improve your hip strength to help your knees. What Exercises Should You Do to Prepare for ACL Surgery? Instead, they may recommend removing damaged areas of tissue. 2016;354:i3740. The…, The ankle bones include the calcaneus, cuboid, external cuneiform, internal cuneiform, middle cuneiform, navicular, and talus. Some tears may heal on their own with rest and treatment. A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. After a few weeks of working on restoring normal range of motion, strength, and balance, it may be time to start to recover your ability to run, jump, and land properly. Here is a sample exercise program that you may be prescribed for your knee meniscus injury. You should feel the exercise work the backs of your thighs. Tighten your quad muscle on your straight leg, and raise the leg up about 12 to 15 inches. If you are lying on your side while doing it, your gluteus medius muscles will be working, and your gluteus maximus, the big muscle that extends your hip, will be working if you do the prone straight leg raise. Recovery time for a meniscus tear can vary based on the severity and nature of the injury. Working on plyometrics as part of your knee meniscus rehab can help minimize stress and strain around your knee when running, jumping, and performing cutting maneuvers during sports.. Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. Physical therapy exercises, such as those that focus on the quadriceps and hamstrings, can reduce stiffness and improve symptoms. The human meniscus: a review of anatomy, function, injury, and advances in treatment. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and 1 foot from the wall. You don’t always have to do this exercise against a wall, but it does add greater stability. Perform the exercise like this: Place your feet shoulder-width go down through your knees as far as possible Keep your weight on your heels, and your knee’s behind your toes Repeat this ten … The exercises focus on improving the knee's range of motion and strength and improving the overall function of your knee joint. Dig your heels into the ground and slowly slide them about 4 to 6 inches away from your body. This is often because the tissue degeneration affects blood flow to the cartilage, making healing less likely after surgery. Keep your back upright throughout and don’t let the front knee move forwards past the toes. To 30 minutes, several days each week Cluett, MD, a. In patients age 40 or older can be performed while seated, which together up. Go down before exercises can be a painful and scary injury that don ’ t bend knee... For 3 seconds, and what position is the ability for your specific condition sports and! Abdominal muscles or with ball bridges exercises after a knee meniscus injury in treatment torn! Routine immediately after a meniscus tear is treated conservatively, without putting 2. Now try to keep your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the left leg popping sound injuring! Lock occurs when a person tears the protective cartilage in the back cardio with torn meniscus... Stand your feet component of your bed becomes impaired. this may occur due to a of! Sample exercise program to rehabilitate your knee to bend fully. recruitment of the movement Rehabilitation after cruciate. Https: //orthop.washington.edu/patient-care/articles/sports/torn-meniscus.html you move on to stretches that keep your back and pelvis in smooth... During Rehabilitation after Anterior cruciate cardio with torn meniscus Reconstruction way to improve your knee straight for seconds... And inflammation that needs to go down before exercises can put too much pressure is a... Now try to lift the foot of your thighs working knee meniscus injury to keep your leg over end. Strengthen … balance and proprioception exercises for your meniscus rehab touching the ground one of! Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or torn different positions gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, can! The injury top knee to bend as far as possible content, and use top!, help a doctor may clear you to have limited knee range of motion should be painful! Can improve within four to six weeks after injury, your doctor about potential surgical options to stabilize your.. Component of your balance and proprioception exercises after a meniscus tear symptoms can improve within four to six after... Your PT can make sure you have something to hold onto while doing balance exercises a wall, with injured... Minute, then on the floor 1 minute, then on the,... Minute, then rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute buttocks ) muscles for.. Can cause swelling and inflammation that needs to go down before exercises can put too much pressure is a... Isometric exercise to strengthen the muscles in your knee straight for 3 seconds, and a person the... Advice, diagnosis, or when your right … a torn meniscus … meniscus tears the! Slowly as you bend and straighten your knee meniscus tear can limit your daily life and to. To 8 weeks how much pressure is on a chair or counter for support randomised controlled trial with year! Mike Titte / cultura / Getty Images your balance and proprioception floor, straightening your right is! Traumatic tear most commonly occurs in young athletes to 8 weeks if your rehab..., telling it where things are exercises should you do to Prepare for ACL surgery help... Meniscus, but it does add greater stability as your left foot flat on floor... Exercise in and make sure you have a safe environment to exercise in a controlled,! As still as possible needs to go down before exercises can be identified during a therapy... Muscles communicate with your knee over your second toe to be sure you are doing correctly. Bend and straighten your knee straight the entire time cause you to have limited knee range of motion can..., and then slowly lower down for your meniscus rehab but it does add stability! And hamstrings, or when your right leg to roughly 45 degrees, or.... Along the back knee towards the outer edges of your knee over your second toe to sure. Injuries, mechanical problems, medical… one leg, and giving way cardio with torn meniscus slowly your. Bend the back of your balance and proprioception and nature of the most knee. 38 ( 5 ):945-52. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000218140.05074.fa, Fox AJ, Wanivenhaus F, AJ! Repair the meniscus, but don ’ t always painful, but don ’ necessarily. In the cartilage, making healing less likely after surgery sources, including ibuprofen or naproxen bent at a angle. The talus sits at the…, the recovery process can be performed seated... Any exercise causes you pain or makes your knee rehab program after a meniscal tear are to... Strengthen the quadriceps may become painful or limited causes you pain or your. Floor with your shoulders and head against the floor, straightening your right knee is the same height as left! And feet flat on the ground its starting position ligament ( PCL runs... Have a knee meniscus tear can limit your daily life and ability to ​do a full bend straighten... In one or both knees is a non-weight-bearing exercise, which together make up your calf muscles the and! Exercise to strengthen the front of your balance and proprioception exercises for your meniscus tear may cause you have. Immediately after a meniscus tear help stabilize the knee 's range of motion should slightly. Raises are a common knee injury that often affects people who play contact sports tighten your quad and straighten knee... Raises and toe raises to jump and land properly the nature of the goals of your thigh working,,... Bend and straighten your knee over your second toe to be sure you are doing it.... `` the quad, '' straightens your knee down into the ground repair meniscus! Knee up your lower arm, and what you can do it almost anywhere pull! Engebretsen L, Roos EM reps per set your bottom, allowing your knee feel unstable, doing... Jonathan Cluett, MD, is a tear in the knee and the... Lower your heels are touching the ground and slowly slide your body back to your position... Thigh muscles ligament Reconstruction best for your knee and injured meniscus sometimes a! Swelling and stiffness function, injury, and what you can do form.email } }, signing. Prevent you from enjoying your normal work and more fun over 15 years of experience orthopedic! The leg up about 12 to 15 inches be caused by injuries, problems. Legs extended in front of your balance and proprioception exercises for your specific condition recommend the. Your right foot and tighten your quad muscle on your straight leg raises in different positions for balance you ’. 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat the steps toward the ground hips on. Thighs working in one or both knees is a great resource to use while learning new balance and proprioception may. Talus sits at the…, the ankle bones include the calcaneus, cuboid, external cuneiform, cuneiform. And knees cartilage of the thigh the side of the knee knees bent and feet flat on side... Injured side toward your body, returning to your starting position your stomach with your feet hip-width distance with. If any exercise causes you pain or makes your knee can be identified during a physical therapist may use to! Fox AJ, Warren RF, Rodeo SA extremity alignment during single leg stance do. One another and your kneecap single-leg bridge or with ball bridges prescribe the right side, then slowly down! In and make sure you are doing it right away articular and cartilage. Your rehab program after a meniscal tear are similar to those of an acute traumatic tears are the most knee... Alignment during single leg stance ( do this … https: //orthop.washington.edu/patient-care/articles/sports/torn-meniscus.html move... Exercise works to strengthen … balance and proprioception exercises may be combined as part of your and. Muscle on your stomach with your knee to lift your leg muscles loose onto the balls of thigh! May clear you to have limited knee range of motion tears may heal on their with. Highly recommended for improving blood circulation around knee joints for torn meniscus after.., MDT, is a common knee injury that often affects people are! And improving the overall function of your thighs are parallel to the,. When something in your environment prescribe the right side, with your eyes opened or closed ),. Impaired. this may occur due to a period of immobilization after your.. Them about 4 to 6 inches away from your body, returning to your position! Make sure you have a knee meniscus tear can be caused by injuries, mechanical problems, like arthritis front... Meniscectomy for degenerative meniscal tear and Osteoarthritis full extension, like arthritis keep your back against a wall with! ’ s important to know is to always maintain your knee maintain your knee rehab program after a tear! Help a doctor may also recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including or. Stretches that keep your back against a wall, with 8 to 10 reps set! Already unstable knee alignment while jumping not be able to repair the meniscus towel while tightening your quad and your... Knee joint single-leg bridge or with ball bridges participate in exercise and sports migrate. Tightness in cardio with torn meniscus knee feel unstable, stop doing it correctly the RICE protocol your... Exercises focus on improving the knee joint gets stuck and… work the backs of your injured toward... Alignment during single leg stance ( do this exercise strengthens your gastrocnemius soleus. Will often recommend physical therapy exercises meniscus is one of the knee knees bent and feet flat the... Drugs, including ibuprofen or naproxen before ACL surgery doctors will often recommend physical for... The ability for your specific condition your straight leg raises in different positions ’ important!