Knee - Medial Meniscus Tear

Ok, so i started doing a couch to 5k with our eldest daughter, in fact the whole family were taking part. After three weeks of that and a bit less than normal on the bike without issue, I jogged across the road - first few steps were fine then intense pain. :flushed: then unable to walk for a few steps. Managed to last out the day. That night, huge swelling and restrictive movement due to the swelling and pain almost like toothache.
I’ve been icing it, taking pain killers and had an MRI scanv2 weeks ago Seeing knee team in 2 weeks for them to look at MRI.
Knee still fluidy but not as bad - I can walk the dog but it took two weeks to not really limp.
A&E chap said ligaments not damaged and x-ray showed no breaks. Pain radiates down inside of lower leg.
Had a letter today from doctor saying I have a medial meniscus tear which explains the pain and he says that the knee/ortho team will advise on how to take it further.

I’m not looking for sympathy as there’s many more in a far worse place than I am however, if anyone has had this happen to them, looking at some practical guidance/tips/links to what I can be or should be doing to help. Also my weight has gone up a leetle due to some family stress. I’m managing to walk the dog around 3 miles most mornings still and icing the knee twice a day. Could I work on my core? Leg strengthening? Should I be knocking out some zone 2 rides/turbo sessions?

Pain wise - not that bad now and most days not taking meds but it’s still a bit sore/achy (breaky heart).

I now fall upon the relative kindness of the forum…

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See the ortho and then a PT (some tears can be managed without surgery). Get a legit and full examination. Only they will be able to provide recommendations on which exercises will be helpful and not make it worse based on YOUR anatomy and presentation. I often see very basic and incorrect advice on forums.

In terms of riding your bike Zone 2 - try it and see. Start on the trainer so you can get off if necessary, and start slow and build up time based on how your knee reacts. You’ll know if something is wrong - but most of my patients with meniscus tears will ride the bike at rehab either to warmup or as non weight bearing cardio.

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Thanks - you’re right, I’m being impatient and wanted to see if i could help myself.
I’ll flag it be deleted.

No need to delete the thread. Still provides good info/feedback and some people might be able to provide their feedback on return to riding after their own non operative or operative managed meniscus tears

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I’ve had meniscus tear and had an opp.

Prior to the opp my PT told me to do lots of walking in a swimming pool… I felt like a weirdo doing it right enough, but i think it helped maintain/build strength on ligaments… and i was back to full strength in no time after the opp. I actually walked out the hospital after the opp and never had a single pain killer.

Hopefully you’ll recover quick.

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I had a bucket tear and had the opp which for me was to srape out 80% of the cartlidge.

It was a few years ago and I’m fully recovered now but I did have a lot of swelling for a few months after the opp which was actually slighty worse that it was before the opp.

From memory the PT actually involved a lot of low resistance cycling and bodyweight excercises to strengthen the quads.

Good luck.


You must be in England ( based on A+E and long waits)
I’ve had 3 meniscus surgeries. All were no doubt surgery needed.
My surgeries were basically less than 3 weeks from injury.
Once my Dr commented that he couldn’t believe I walked IN to surgery. Piece of meniscus was stuck under patella.
Recovery was really easy at 28, much harder at 48.
Do PT until you get to see that knee team. It will help wether you need surgery or not.
Good luck.


Yes I’m in the UK so the 4 hours in the local A&E was interesting from a people watching perspecrive.


Thanks all for the input. I’ll keep moving as best i can and a bit of low level cycling until i know for sure what the prognosis is. May even get on with some core exercises if i can as I’ve been a bit lax in that respect recently.


@Johnnyvee yeah, you see some crackers. Some families think it’s a family day out… mums, dads, grans, siblings…

Hi there. Your age is one of the biggest determinants of treatment

If you are <40, it might be repairable

If you are >40 (and likely is based on your mechanism described) it is almost for sure a degenerative tear related to age related stiffening of the meniscus. These are not repairable and are treated w a partial meniscectomy. That’s the first bit of bad news.

The second is that almost all degenerative tears are associated w arthritis (degenerative softening of the articular cartilage) and this is almost never seen with standard magnet MRI (magnets < 3T). So although the MRI says meniscal tear, degenerative tears are almost always associated with some degree of articular cartilage change. Although the meniscal injury can be resected, the articulatar surface changes cannot be - explaining the high rate of failure of arthroscopy compared to nonoperative treatment in this age group

So - start w physio, +- NSAIDS, +- injections +- chondroitin/glucosamine sulphate (debated whether better than placebo effect but for this I’ll take placebo effect anyways) . Most will improve with this treatment and scopes generally are done for those that won’t improve w a good trial of non op rx

@macleodm PREACHING the truth

I’m 56 so in the latter group.

Thanks for the info :+1:.

Getting old, ha ha.

That’s quite ok! I’m 58 so I feel your pain. I had a knee replacement at 53 for post traumatic arthritis for a skiing injury 40y prior. But it’s gotten me back on the bike. That makes me very happy

Chances are pretty good you’ll get better :slight_smile:

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So sorry to hear this. Had the same thing years ago so I know exactly what you are going through. I was used to running but had become a desk jockey and gained some weight. The solution unfortunately was time, weight loss, and going to the PT to understand why it failed. In my case , tear on inside produced by weak support from the glutes and the muscles on the sides of the legs (don’t remember what they are called), but solved by doing side steps with banded ankles, and very careful light, like featherlight, spinning. All that actually worked.

OTOH since you are here you are used to training and that will help hugely. You can compress the timeline because you already have an idea how all this stuff is connected (I was clueless).

It will get better, and not only better, but stronger than before, more bulletproof, because of the recovery porcess. Which might also mean faster.

Cheers, and best of luck with the doctors and all.

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I was diagnosed with a meniscus tear after an ultrasound. At the time I’d been doing some cycling and hill walking but no running. Shortly after introducing some squats to my exercise routine I tore the meniscus. A physiotherapist recommended some exercises aimed at increasing hamstring+quad+glute strength (and mobility) and then I slowly introduced some running and now I am in the best shape of my life, pain-free.

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Thanks again for the comments so far.

@estarkie quite a bit of what you say resonates and i think i may well have imbalances or rather other muscles in that leg not functioning wholly.

As a starting point i need to get off the additional weight piled on from bit doing anything and I’ve got some exercises to do to start with.

Yesterday i did go out for an easy spin with a couple of my gravel buddies but we were on mainly flat roads with our road bikes. Took it easy and was very conservative, not much standing unless to stetch - knocked out just under 38 miles and today no noticeable additional pain or inflammation in the knee. So quite pleased and will continue to work at it and the weight loss. :grinning:

I had a right lateral meniscus rupture and surgery to repair (not scrape). No issues the last 10 years. Pre surgery I was in a lot of pain. Post surgery it was all uphill because no more pain. Idk if it still holds true for treatment but my PT and AT both recommended a lot of no impact flexion and extension work. The meniscus absorbs lots of impact when running/walking. That meant a lot of cycling, squats, static lunges, etc. post surgery. It took about 6/8 weeks to feel physically normal. Mentally about 9 months to a year to not think about it.

I feel like my experience was overall really great considering it was an injury, it was about 2010 in the US and I’m hoping yours goes great also.

Update -

I agravated my knee again after my post and had another three weeks of hobbling around using crutches…

I have at last now seen the consultant after a few false starts (like the appointment being canceled a I was driving to it). Confirmed it’s a tear in the meniscus so it’ll be outpatient surgery to have it repaired in 17 weeks or so. He did confirm cycling was the best form of exercise that I could be doing.

So back to some rides in the comming weeks though I intend to go on the trainer soon as I went out a few days ago and though I managed 40 miles I was woefully slow and could tell how much fitness I’d lost over the two priods of around 3 weeks where I had sat and done nothing whilst my knee calmed down. At least I now have a baseline from which to start but I think I should use train now rather than follow a plan or indeed take any ramp tests…

Actually is there any reason to avoid a plan and the ramp test…?

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I just tore my meniscus (just five months after being out of action most of this year following a reconstruction of my shoulder after a crash back in February)(this year keeps getting better)

I can manage a short bit of riding maybe 30 minutes once a week and there is no way I could go to the power for a ramp test. If you are feeling good, maybe but I’m sticking low power stuff for now

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