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Knee Exercises

Meniscus Tear Exercises

Minute Read


Posted 1 year ago


Last updated: 04/12/2022


by James McCormack

The meniscus is a part of the anatomy of the knee. It is composed of two C-shaped, cartilage pieces that sit between the tibial plateaux and the femur. The function of the meniscus is to improve stability, cushioning by absorbing impact, distributing weight, lubricating and nourishing the knee joint. Injuries to the meniscus are common when the structure is over-stressed with rotation or sudden changes of direction or speed of the knee joint and with deep flexion. There are many different types of tears that can occur, more about this can be read in our article: Posterior Horn Medial Meniscus Tear.

Some forms of tears will need surgery but many can be managed conservatively with physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises. Recovery without surgery can often benefit from the use of a knee brace for a period of time to reduce the load on the injured meniscus. Please read more about our recommendations in our article: Knee Brace for Meniscus Tear. 

Meniscus Tear Strengthening Exercises

When the meniscus is torn and the knee is painful and possibly swollen the surrounding muscles can become inhibited and need activating with strengthening exercises. Here are the best exercises that are helpful for many meniscus tear injuries.

These should all be pain-free and done for 3 sets of 12 repeats.

Inner Range Quads

Sit with a foam roller or thick pillow under your knee. Push your knee down into the roller or pillow to straighten your leg and lift your ankle off the floor.

You should feel this working your quadriceps muscles.


Lying on your side with your heels in line with your hips and shoulders. Without rolling backwards with your pelvis, lift your top leg to open your knees.

You should feel this working your glute muscles. 

Glute Bridge

Lie on your back with a resistance band tied around your thighs, and your feet and knees hip-width apart. Keep pressure outwards into the band while you lift your pelvis off the floor.

You should feel this working your glutes and hamstring muscles. 

Heel Raise

Stand with the ball of one foot on the edge of a step. Hold onto a wall for balance. Lower your heel down off the step and then raise your heel high up.

You should feel this working your calf muscles. 

Meniscus Tear Stretches

The muscles around the knee often tighten up when there is an injury to the meniscus. Therefore stretching the hamstrings and calf can be very helpful in reducing pain. Often stretching the quadriceps muscle is painful as the knee is taken into a fully flexed position, therefore we recommend using a foam roller to relax the quadriceps muscle without the need for flexing the knee.

Stretches should be held for at least 30 seconds and 2-5 minutes spent on the foam roller. 

Hamstring Stretch

Stand with one leg stepped forwards with a straight knee. Bend from your hips to tighten the muscles at the back of your leg.

You should feel this stretch in your hamstring, at the back of your thigh. 

Calf Stretch

Stand with both feet on the edge of a step. Hold on for balance and lower your heels down.

You should feel a stretch in your calves, at the back of your lower leg.

Quadriceps Muscle Foam Rolling

Lie with your thighs on a foam roller, you can either hold your weight with your hands or forearms on the floor. Very slowly roll your weight forwards and backwards over the middle and outer part of your thigh.

You should feel this slowly become less painful in the quadriceps muscle. 

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

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