10 Torn Meniscus Exercises to Try

There is a C-shaped piece of cartilage called the meniscus sitting right next to your knee that plays a very important role in helping your bones to absorb a shock. Degeneration or trauma such as a twisting of your knee joint may lead to a meniscus tear. These injuries are quite common and you can accelerate healing by doing certain strengthening and stretching exercises. While it is important to talk to your doctor first, you may benefit a lot by trying the following exercises.

Torn Meniscus Exercises

Regular exercise helps strengthen muscles and tendons–it not only prevents injuries, but also helps heal a tear in a short time. Here are some highly effective exercises for you to try.

1. Quad Clenches

The idea is to straighten your knee completely and strengthen the quads without changing the position of your knee. You need to lie on your back and keep your knee and leg straight. Now, slowly push your knee down to tighten the muscle on the front of your thigh. Hold it for a few seconds. Repeat about 15 times every 3-4 hours for effects.

2. Prone Knee Hangs

It is among the most effective torn meniscus exercises you can do to increase knee extension. Start by lying on your stomach while keeping your kneecap over the end of your bed. Slowly relax your leg and straighten it while letting gravity to stretch it. Maintain the position for a couple of minutes and then bend and straighten your knee again. Repeat three times twice a day. Make sure you do not stay in the position for too long or your knee may start to hurt.

3. Heel Slides

The exercise helps regain full flexion of your knee and improves circulation as well. Do it first thing in the morning for better effects. Lie flat on your back and keep your knee and leg straight out on your bed. Slowly slide your heel towards your bottom while keeping your knee and hip bent. Hold it for about 5 seconds and then return to your starting position. Repeat 10-30 times, twice a day.

4. Foot Slides

The exercise helps improve knee flexion and improves circulation. Start by sitting in a chair with your feet on the floor and knee bent. Now, slowly slide your foot back while keeping it on the floor. Slide it until you cannot do it anymore. Hold it for 3 seconds and return to starting point. Repeat 10-25 times, thrice day.

5. Cat Stretch

It is yet another effective exercise in the list of torn meniscus exercises meant to improve knee flexion. Start by getting on all fours while keeping your hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Now, sit back and take your bottom towards your heels. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds and return to the starting position. Do it 10 times, twice a day.

6. Short Arcs

The exercise helps strengthen your quads muscles without making you move your knees. Sit up in a chair with your leg on a flat surface. Get a towel, roll it up and place under your knee. Slowly, pull your toes towards your body and tighten up your thigh muscles. Now, lift your foot up off the surface and stop when your knee is straight. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and then relax. Do it 10-20 times, thrice a day. Increasing the size of the towel will make this exercise more challenging.

7. Wall Squats

The exercise strengthens your hamstrings, quads and glutes at the same time and also improves knee flexibility. It is among the finest torn meniscus exercises. Stand up against a wall. Make sure your back touches the wall. Keep your feet apart and about 30 cm from the wall. Slowly slide down the wall. Be sure to keep your toes pointing forward. Hold your position when your knees are bent by a few inches. Return to the starting position and repeat 10-25 times, twice a day. Be sure to avoid letting your knees come too far out of your feet–they should be in line with your second toe.

8. The Clamshell

The exercise helps strengthen your glutes and prevents excessive weight over the inner side of your knee. Start by lying on your side. Keep your knees bent at 90 degrees with your feet together. Lift your top knee up while making sure your feet are still together. Hold the position for 3 seconds and then return to your starting position. Repeat 10-25 times one each side, twice a day. Just ensure that you do not allow your top hip to roll backwards.

9. Side Step Downs

Try this exercise to help improve balance by strengthening your quads. It also improves knee stability. Stand on a step while maintaining a sideways stance. Hold the rail or wall for support and slowly lower your leg towards the floor. Be sure to lower your good leg, not your injured leg. Repeat 5-20 times, twice a day. Ensure that you do the whole exercise in a controlled manner and never let your knee twist inwards.

10. Bridging

It is a great exercise to strengthen your hamstrings while workout your buttock muscles. Start by lying on your back and keeping knees bent at 90 degrees. Keep your feet on the floor. Now, lift your bottom off the bed while clenching your buttocks. Lift as high as you can and then hold for 3-5 seconds. Ensure that you do not arch your back. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10-25 times, twice daily.

How Long Does It Take Your Torn Meniscus to Heal?

While it is a good idea to try some torn meniscus exercises, you may always be wondering how long it usually takes for your meniscus to heal. Generally, it takes about 6-8 weeks to heal fully, but sometimes, you need surgery and thus longer recovery time. You usually need surgery when other options do not work. Your doctor recommends it when he believes it is important to patch up and join injured tissues. You should avoid certain exercises and activities that put excessive pressure on your meniscus, or else it will hamper healing. Work with your physiotherapist throughout the process. 

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