A C-shaped disc of cartilage that protects the knee joint, your meniscus can be found between the femur and the tibia. The meniscus acts like a shock absorber for your knee, providing cushioning and reducing the impact on your knee bones and joints. While the meniscus acts to safeguard the knee, it can wear down over time, leading to injuries, arthritis, and painful tears in the region.

At NJ Spine and Wellness, we provide effective treatment for meniscal tears. From conservative approaches to surgical intervention, our team of doctors, physical therapists, and other caregivers can properly diagnose your knee pain and recommend one of our state-of-the-art therapies to help you Get Better Faster. To speak with a knee pain specialist, schedule a consultation at one of our New Jersey locations in:

What Are the Causes of a Torn Meniscus?

Meniscal tears can happen to anyone, but they typically occur in athletes, especially those who participate in contact sports. If the knee twists but the foot remains planted in place on the ground, it can lead to a meniscus tear. Something as simple as stepping on an uneven surface can also cause a meniscal tear, especially in patients whose cartilage has been compromised by arthritis. If you believe you have sustained a meniscal tear, reach out to an NJ Spine and Wellness doctor immediately.

Types of Meniscus Tears

  • Medial meniscus tear: occurs on the inner side of the knee joint
  • Lateral meniscus tear: occurs on the outer side of the knee joint

Torn Meniscus Physical Therapy

Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy, like stretches and exercises, to treat your torn meniscus and strengthen the area surrounding the cartilage:

  • Straight leg raises
  • Hamstring curls
  • Heel raises
  • Shallow knee bends
  • Heel bridging
  • And more

What Are the Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus?

In most cases, a meniscus tear feels like something has popped in your knee. You may also experience:

  • Severe swelling, stiffness, and pain
  • Inability to fully bend or straighten your leg
  • Feeling as if your leg could give out under your body weight

Conservative Treatments for a Torn Meniscus

Depending on their level of severity — as well as their locations and size — medial or lateral meniscus tears can heal on their own. In addition to recommending over-the-counter medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs, your NJ Spine and Wellness meniscal tear specialist may also suggest following the RICE protocol of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. For some patients, physical therapy may be advised as well.

Surgical Treatments for a Torn Meniscus

The most common type of procedure for a meniscal tear is called a knee arthroscopy. It involves making a small incision into your knee so your surgeon can insert an arthroscope — a small tube with a light and camera — into the region to examine the severity of the tear. Depending on the current condition of your meniscus, your NJ Spine and Wellness meniscal tear surgeon can determine which type of surgery is right for you: meniscus repair or a meniscectomy.

  • Meniscus repair: Pieces of your damaged meniscus are sewn back together so they can help on their own
  • Meniscectomy: The surgeon will trim and remove damaged cartilage, leaving only healthy tissue to remain in place

In many cases, post-operative torn meniscus stretches and exercises will be recommended to strengthen the region surrounding the injury and prevent further damage to the region.

What’s the Recovery Time for a Torn Meniscus?

Not only will the recovery time for a torn meniscus differ on a case-by-case basis, but it will also vary depending on the type of treatment administered. For instance, a mild torn meniscus that’s treated conservatively can take anywhere from six to eight weeks; following surgery, it could take four to six weeks to walk without crutches and three to six months to return to heavy work or sports.

Contact Us Today for More Information

For more information on how to effectively treat your meniscal tear, reach out to a knee specialist at NJ Spine and Wellness. We feature an expert, experienced team of doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, and other caregivers all committed to helping you eliminate your knee pain and Get Better Faster. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our New Jersey locations in East Brunswick, Freehold, Matawan, or Old Bridge.