A meniscus tear is a very common knee injury, especially among athletes and active adults. It occurs when the knee is forcefully twisted or rotated, creating a split in the cartilage tissue.
A meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage, and each knee has two menisci: One in the outer part of the knee and the other in the inner part of the knee, near where the knees meet each other when the legs are together. The purpose of the menisci is to prevent the bottom of your thighbone (upper leg bone) and the top of your shinbone (large lower leg bone) from rubbing together when you walk and move.
A minor meniscus tear can often be treated successfully with physical therapy. Let’s talk about how physical therapy can help your knee heal naturally and without surgery, and where you can go here in the Raleigh area to see a meniscus tear doctor for a comprehensive orthopedic evaluation and treatment that works.
Physical Therapy as a Meniscus Tear Treatment
For some people, a minor meniscus tear causes little to no knee pain or functional loss. Minor tears in the meniscus can feel better after a careful healing process.
However, moderate to major tears often require treatment by a meniscus tear doctor – which is an orthopedic surgeon. Depending on their assessment, the doctor can recommend a wide range of treatment options that may surprise you.
Physical therapy for a torn meniscus is beneficial because it improves the functional mobility of your knee by increasing the strength of the muscles surrounding and supporting the knee. This gives the knee more natural stability, thereby alleviating pressure on the cartilage inside the knee.
By the end of your physical therapy sessions, you will notice increased strength in your legs. Physical therapy also works to decrease knee pain and swelling through simple exercises and stretches.
Physical Therapy Exercises for a Torn Meniscus
Exercises for your torn meniscus will be a major part of your knee rehabilitation program. Your orthopedic doctor or physical therapist can help you recover from a meniscus injury with exercises such as these:
- Hamstring curls
- Leg extensions
- Hamstring heel digs
- Standing leg raises
- Straight-leg raises
Exercises for Increasing Range of Motion in the Knee
The tear in your meniscus may cause you to have a limited range of motion and stiffness of the knee. Thus, it will be hard for you to fully bend your knee or straighten your leg.
Two knee exercises, in particular, can increase your range of motion without causing pain:
- Heel slides
- Prone-hang exercise
Your physical therapist will show you how to perform the recommended exercises and stretches safely and effectively so that you do not do further damage to your knee.
Exercises to Avoid
There are also exercises to avoid, as any twisting motion of the knee may make the tear worse. Movements such as pivots, deep squats, and twisting should be avoided at all costs to prevent further injury to the meniscus.
Meniscus Tear Doctor Near Me in Raleigh
If you are searching for an established orthopedic clinic, Dr. Brett Gilbert and his medical staff are here for you. We provide high-quality orthopedic care to our patients – and after a full assessment of your condition, we can recommend the right treatment for your injury or painful condition. In many cases, physical therapy is a key part of the treatment plan for our patients who have knee pain.
Dr. Gilbert specializes in treating a wide variety of knee and hip conditions. Our clinic uses state-of-the-art technology for diagnoses and treatments, so you can rest assured you are getting the best care possible here in the Triangle.
We have three clinics conveniently located in Raleigh, Brier Creek, and Apex, North Carolina. Give us a call at (919) 788-8797 or You can request an appointment with Dr. Gilbert using our appointment request form, or you can self-schedule your appointment here. We look forward to serving you!