4 Best Knee Exercises for Meniscus Tears

If you tear your meniscus, it will take time for you to heal and to get full function back in it. This common injury is going to limit your mobility and make it difficult for you to do certain exercises. Your doctor will likely recommend a rehab program for you that can help you get back on your feet and regain mobility as quickly as possible.

Most rehab programs to treat a meniscus tear will include strength exercises and flexibility exercises that improve the endurance and mobility of your legs and knees.

This can help prevent more injuries like this in the future or help prevent that tear from reopening. Your rehab program will also likely include exercises you can do at home as well as monitored physical therapy.

By working both at home and under a licensed physical therapist, you can recover quickly and get full function back in your knees.

Let’s talk about some of the exercises for meniscus tear that your doctor may recommend. Perhaps the recommended exercises may not be ones you like or you may have trouble doing them.

In that case, you can look through the list we provided below and see if your doctor would recommend that you do any of them. You may find some alternatives to what you’ve been doing that are more interesting to you or that seem more realistic for you.

Heel Raises

This is one of the simplest knee exercises you can do, and it shouldn’t be very strenuous or stress you out. They shouldn’t put much strain on your knees, so you can do it quite often to help build up strength and to help your body recover from a meniscus tear.

Stand behind a chair holding on to the upper back of the chair. Stand flat on your feet with your feet a few inches apart from each other. Your hand should rest lightly on the chair.

Slowly elevate your heels and stand on the balls and toes of your feet. Hold this pose for about six seconds and then lower back slowly onto the floor. You can do this about 10 times for one set and repeat the set multiple times throughout the day to maximize your recovery efforts.

Hamstring Curls

There are some exercises for knee meniscus tear that are so easy you can do them lying down. Hamstring curls are just such an exercise, and they help to strengthen the muscles around the back of your thighs.

That provides better support for your knees and take some of the stress off of them, allowing for quicker recovery and less risk of a tear happening in the future.

To do this exercise, you’ll need to lie on the floor on your stomach. Lay your knees out straight. Your legs should be laying side by side with a little space between.

If your knee cap feels uncomfortable while lying on the floor, you can put a towel down on the floor or a blanket just above your knee cap to lift it off the floor.

Take your injured leg and lift the foot there toward your knee so that the foot moves up towards your buttocks. This may be painful to you, depending on how recent your injury was and how severe it is. If it is painful, you can limit how far you move it. Only move it as far as it will not be painful to you.

There are ways to get more out of knee exercises for medial meniscus tear injuries like these. If you add weight to your foot, wrapped around the ankle, that can require more effort to lift your foot.

You’ll get a lot more benefit from your workouts and recover faster, as long as you’re not overexerting yourself or pushing yourself so hard that you further injure your knees.

Heel Dig Bridging

This is an exercise that you can also do while lying on the floor. Once again, if you are uncomfortable on the floor, you can put something soft underneath you.

This one works a little bit more of the body but definitely focuses on helping strengthen your knees and the areas around them. It works the muscles that you would use to move your knees, helping to make that part of the body stronger and to prevent injuries like a tear in the future.

To do this exercise, line your back and bend your knees. Your ankle should be bent to the point where only your heels are touching the floor. Your knees will be bent about 90 degrees, if you’re in the right position.

You’re going to be moving your body using your abdominal muscles first, so tighten your belly muscles by pulling your belly button in towards your spinal column.

Push your heels down into the floor and squeeze your buttocks. Then, lift your hips from the floor high enough so that your hips, knees, and shoulders are all resting in a straight line with one another.

Hold this pose for about six seconds and try to breathe normally.

Don’t try to do this exercise while holding your breath. From there, slowly lower back down to the floor, resting your hips on the floor. You can rest for about 10 seconds before doing the exercise again.

This is a great exercise to strengthen your knees, and it would be ideal if you could do about 10 repetitions each time.

Do be careful about working your knees so hard that you cause pain, especially following a meniscus tear. You need to take it easy and know your limitations. Only push yourself as far as you can without causing major discomfort.

Quad Sets

These exercises build your upper thigh muscles or quadriceps. They develop and strengthen the quadricep muscles by squeezing them tightly.

You should do this exercise about 10 times in a single session and then repeat a few times a day, if you can. As with all the exercises we told you about so far, don’t push yourself so far that you are really hurting your knees. You can end up making that tear worse rather than strengthening your legs as you’re trying to do them.

For this exercise, you can sit on the floor resting your injured leg straight out from you. Your other leg can be resting at a 90-degree angle or thereabouts.

Begin by tightening the upper thigh muscle, which you can do by forcing the back of your knee down flat to the floor. Hold that post for about 6 seconds and then rest your leg. Once you have rested, repeat the motion about nine more times.

Some people who use this exercise as a way to strengthen their knees after meniscus tear have said that a great way to relieve discomfort is to put a small towel or other soft object under the knee as they do the exercise.

These are just a few exercises you can start with, and they are great for strengthening your knees and developing the muscles that support your knees. They help to take the stress off your knees so that a meniscus tear is less likely in the future.

They also help you to recover from a meniscus tear, as long as you do them carefully and don’t force yourself too hard.

Listen to your body and pay attention to the pain you’re feeling, and don’t do any exercises that cause you severe pain.