Treatment for a torn meniscus often begins conservatively. Your doctor may recommend:
- Rest. Avoid activities that aggravate your knee pain, especially any activity that might cause you to twist your knee. You might want to use crutches to take pressure off your knee and promote healing.
- Ice. Ice can reduce knee pain and swelling. Use a cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables or a towel filled with ice cubes for about 15 minutes at a time. Do this every four to six hours the first day or two, and then as often as needed.
- Medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers also can help ease knee pain.
Physical therapy can help you strengthen the muscles around your knee and in your legs to help stabilize and support the knee joint. Arch supports or other shoe inserts can help to distribute force more evenly around your knee or decrease stress on certain areas of your knee.
If your knee remains painful, stiff or locked, your doctor may recommend surgery. It's sometimes possible to repair a torn meniscus, especially in children and young adults. If the tear can't be repaired, the meniscus may be surgically trimmed. Surgery may be done through tiny incisions using an arthroscope. After surgery, you will need to do exercises to optimize knee strength and stability.
March 28, 2014
- Skinner HB. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Orthopedics. 4th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2006. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=20. Accessed Aug. 14, 2013.
- Anderson BC. Meniscal injury of the knee. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 14, 2013.
- Meniscal tears. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00358. Accessed Aug. 14, 2013.
- Knee arthroscopy. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00299. Accessed Aug. 14, 2013.