Knee cartilage tear - aftercare
The meniscus forms a buffer between the bones in your knee to protect the joint. The meniscus:
A meniscus tear can occur if you:
As you get older, your meniscus ages too, and it can become easier to injure.
You may feel a "pop" when a meniscus injury occurs. You also may have:
If you have a meniscus tear, you may need:
Treatment may depend on your age, activity level, and where the tear occurs. For mild tears, you may be able to treat the injury with rest and self-care.
For other types of tears, or if you are younger in age, you may need knee arthroscopy (surgery) to repair the meniscus. In this type of surgery, small cuts are made to the knee. A small camera and small surgical tools are inserted to repair the tear.
Follow R.I.C.E. to help reduce pain and swelling:
You can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) to reduce pain and swelling. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) helps with pain, but not with swelling. You can buy these pain medicines at the store.
You should not put all of your weight on your leg if it hurts or if your doctor tells you not to. Rest and self-care may be enough to allow the tear to heal. You may need to use crutches.
Afterward, you will learn exercises to make the muscles, ligaments, and tendons around your knee stronger and more flexible.
If you have surgery to repair your meniscus, you may need physical therapy to regain the full use of your knee. Recovery can take a few weeks to a few months. Under your doctor's guidance, you should be able to do the same activities you did before.
Call your health car provider if:
Klingele K, Kramer D, Kocher MS. Meniscal disorders. In: Scott WN, ed. Insall & Scott Surgery of the Knee. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2012:chap 86.
Miller III RH, Azar, FM. Knee injuires. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, Daugherty K, Jones L, et al. Canale & Beaty: Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:chap 45.
Reider BC, Davies GJ, Provencher MT. Meniscus injuries. In: Reider BC, Davies GJ, Provencher MT. Orthopaedic Rehabilitation of the Athlete. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 30.
Last reviewed on: 5/9/2015
Reviewed by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, assistant professor, chief, sports medicine and shoulder service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.