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Can I Still Exercise After a Meniscus Tear?

Can I Still Exercise After a Meniscus Tear?

You’re rightfully concerned if you’ve experienced a meniscus tear. The injury can be painful and worrisome, especially if you love to stay active. 

The meniscus is a vital shock-absorbing structure in the knee joint, and a tear can significantly affect mobility and exercise routines. The good news is that with the right guidance and approach, you may continue exercising even after a meniscus tear. 

Our team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists sees many patients with meniscus injuries. Read on for some valuable insight about exercising safely and other tips for a successful recovery journey.

Understanding meniscus tears

The meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage structure that acts as a cushion between your thigh bone and your shin bone. The meniscus stabilizes the knee joint, absorbs shock during movements, and enhances joint lubrication. 

You may experience a meniscus tear due to sudden twisting motions, direct trauma, or wear-and-tear over time. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, limited range of motion, and a clicking or locking sensation in the knee.

Seeking a professional evaluation

If you suspect a meniscus tear, seek professional evaluation from our experienced orthopedic specialists as soon as possible. Through a physical examination and imaging tests like an MRI, we can accurately diagnose the extent of the injury and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.

Exercising with a meniscus tear: What's safe and what's not

Exercising with a meniscus tear requires caution, as certain activities can worsen or aggravate the injury and delay healing. 

During the early stages of recovery, we generally discourage high-impact exercises, such as running, jumping, and sports involving sudden stops and starts. But this doesn't mean giving up on exercise altogether.

Low-impact exercises

Embrace low-impact exercises that are gentle on your knees. Activities like swimming, stationary biking, and walking on flat surfaces can help you maintain cardiovascular fitness without straining the injured knee.

Strength training

Engaging in targeted strength training exercises can improve the stability of the knee joint and support the surrounding muscles. Our orthopedic and physical therapy team can guide you through appropriate exercises to strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.

Flexibility and balance

Incorporating flexibility exercises and balance training can enhance joint mobility and reduce the risk of future injuries. Activities like yoga and Pilates can be beneficial, but modify poses that place excessive stress on your knee.

Rehabilitation and physical therapy

A structured rehabilitation program is crucial for a successful recovery from a meniscus tear. Our orthopedic practice offers personalized physical therapy sessions, focusing on stretching, strengthening, and restoring knee function. 

Under the guidance of our skilled therapists, you can gradually progress in your exercise routine as your knee heals and gains strength.

When to consider surgery

In some cases, conservative treatments may not be enough to ease pain and restore mobility, and surgical intervention may be necessary to repair or remove the torn meniscus. 

Our orthopedic specialists carefully evaluate your condition and recommend knee surgery if it’s the best option for your recovery.

If you have symptoms of a meniscus tear, see our team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists. We help you stay active and strengthen your knee as you work toward a full recovery. 

Contact us for an evaluation at our Bethesda, Rockville, or Germantown, Maryland, office. Call 301-515-0900 or set up an appointment here.

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