Meniscus Tear Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo, and today I’m
gonna show you some stretches and exercises for a meniscal tear. Let’s get started. When your meniscus is torn, your knee becomes unstable. The meniscus is basically like a little suction
cup in your knee. That’s what I call it. And when there becomes a tear, that suction cup
doesn’t hold everything together so basically then your knee is unstable and kind of wiggling
when you walk. You can’t see it, but a lot of times you can feel it. It just feels like
it’s gonna give out on you. So we’re gonna start off with some stretches. This first
stretch is gonna be a calf stretch. You can stretch your calf a bunch of different ways,
I’m gonna show you with a strap today. You just take, you can take a strap, you can take
a belt, a dog leash works really well, or a big beach towel if you don’t have any of
the others. Take the strap and put it at the ball of your foot. You don’t want it on your
toes and you don’t want it down low, you want it right there at the ball of your foot so
it doesn’t slip off and hit you in the face. Just relax your leg and then pull towards
you to stretch that foot. And you should feel it underneath where that calf muscle is. So
just hold it for about 30 seconds and then relax. And do that 3 times. Just pulling towards
you as far as you comfortably can. You don’t want it to hurt cause your knee’s gonna b
a little tender while you’re stretching because that calf muscle comes and crosses over the
knee. So that’s kind of stretching out that joint area so it not quite as painful on the
meniscus. Then the next stretch you want to do is a hamstring stretch. Again I have a
video for a lot of hamstring stretches and calf stretches if you want to check them out,
but I’m just gonna show you the one where you’re lying down. So still keeping the strap
in the same spot, you don’t have to move it, just at the ball of your foot there. And then
you’re gonna lie down. Bring the strap and just pull it up towards you as far as you
comfortably can. You might not be able to get this far, but you want to keep that knee
straight. So if you start bending right here, come back down a little bit cause you want
to keep it straight the whole time to stretch out those hamstrings underneath here. And
again, the hamstrings cross the other way, so you want to keep those nice and loose so
it’s not pulling and putting pressure on that injured meniscus. So again holding that for
about 30 seconds. If you bring your toes up towards you, that will give you even more
of a stretch and it will stretch your calves and your hamstrings at the same time. So 3
times for 30 seconds. And then going into some of the exercises. You can start off with
a simple quad set. The quad set is basically when you’re taking this quad muscle and squeezing
it, or setting it, and that pushes the knee downward. So sometimes people want to take
a little roll to have a target. You can do that, or just push down into the ground as
hard as you can, comfortably. If you pull up your toes, again that helps straighten
out the whole leg. Hold that for about 5 seconds, relax, and do 10 of those. So squeezing down,
you should feel that muscle tighten up right there, and then relax. Now if it’s painful,
don’t squeeze quite as hard. You want it to be uncomfortable, but not painful. Then the
next one you can either lie down or stay sitting up just depending on your comfort level. But
you’re just gonna take your heel and slide it up towards you. So just up this way, which
is a heel slide. You can take this one and keep it slightly bent or straight down whichever
one’s more comfortable for you. And then come back down. So just bring it up until you feel
some tightness, stretch in the knee, not pain. And then back down. So start off with just
10 of those and then if they become a little bit easier, then you can work your way up
to 20 or 25. Then you’re gonna roll over onto your stomach into the prone position. And
keeping your leg as straight as you can, just lift it slightly of the ground into that hip
extension and then come back down. Try not to lift your hips up off the ground, so don’t
roll it and kick high. It doesn’t have to go high. But just lifting off the ground and
then slowly coming back down. Again start off with about 10 of those and then work your
way up from there. So the last exercise is gonna be a clam shell exercise. It looks really
easy, but if you’re doing it correctly it’s actually pretty hard. Bring your knees together
and pull them up slightly in this position. The key to a clam shell is your hips should
be perpendicular to the ground and the ceiling. Straight up and down. Sometimes people roll
them back a little bit, but you want to keep them completely up and down. So if you have
to lean them up against a wall to keep them up, you can start off that way. But what you’re
gonna do is that top leg, just bringing it slightly up, but again, try not to roll back.
So it doesn’t have to go high. Just bring it up until you feel that stretch and then
slowly come back down. Make sure you’re doing both sides. And just start off with 10 and
work your way up to 20-25. Alright, there you have it. If you have any questions, leave
them in the comments section. If you’d like to check out some other videos, like the calf
stretches and the hamstring stretches, go to Don’t forget to like us
and subscribe. And remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.


  1. Hello Dr Jo, I'm 22 years old.I had meniscus tear nearly 18 months ago while playing Badminton. I visited doctor immediately and he advised me to wear pad for a week. However I wore it only for 2 days Since I found it very hard while climbing the stairs in my college. After that I quit badminton. I feel no pain when I run fast in a straight line but when I take a sudden turn I used to crumble on the floor with immense pain due to the tear. Also if I get into the car by turning the leg, sometimes it occur. After 2 minutes, things return to normal. Till now it occurred nearly 12 times in the past 18 months including the one which I got today while folding my leg when I sat on the floor which lasted temporarily for 5 seconds.
    Is there any possible way if I follow these exercises regularly, Can I prevent a surgery?

  2. hey doctor. i had meniscus repair surgery about 1.5 months ago. I have just got off of crutches . my doctor said to ease into it and it’ll take around 6 weeks to be ready. how do i know i’m healed? or ready to play. thanks

  3. Hiiii Jo,
    I had meniscus surgery 6 years back ,my knee is fine I can play ,I can run..but when I do these activities regularly then it starts paining although pain is bearable and get vanish after some days of rest.
    I want to ask is there any set of excercises , precautions anything apart from surgery that can make my knee absolutely fine and I will not face any problem in future.
    Your help would be highly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance 😊 God bless u..

  4. I've got an Oblique tear (grade 2)on posterior meniscus , I've recovered completely from ACL reconstruction previously. I'm Continuing with the exercises for 1 month.
    Still Feels a little loose. How long shall it take ?

  5. I've been doing exercises like this prescribed by my PT, my knee has improved greatly. My DR. is so pleased he told me to stop PT and continue on my own until Spring. Then he wants me to come back for an evaluation.

  6. Hello, I just had surgery on my medial meniscus (2 weeks ago). I attend PT 3x/wk and do all my home exercises on off days. In your experience how long will it take a quad muscle to strengthen (on average)?
    Thank you!

  7. I have meniscal problem grade 3 from last 1 year, my doctor advice me for surgery, is there any other option of without surgery. Please told me

  8. Hi Doctor this is my report of MRI do you think my knee will be stable after surgery ? cortical signal void of bones forming in right knee join are intact with no discrete evidence of fracture. joint subluxation /dislocation . marrow signal of visualized bones appear normal with no evedience of bone bruise .medial and lateral collateral , anterior & posterior cruciate ligaments are intact with no abnormal MR signal suggestive of any tear . no evedience of joint effusion is noted . no evidence of intra or extra articular loose body is seen .signal void of the surrounding vessels and rest of the visualized surrounding sof tissues are intact .grade 3 tear in posterior horn of medial meniscus

  9. I am 18 and a dancer. while performing on stage my right leg got twisted and resulted in a meniscus has been 3 months since it happened there is no pain while walking. But I could get dat clicking sound when d knee is bent.or in a situation where I am supposed to sit down nd get up immediately…I could sense a crumbling feel knee…Can lateral meniscus tear heal by itself..or In case if I opt for surgery will it be successful so dat I can perform in a full fledged manner?

  10. Hi, I have grade 2 degeneration in the medial meniscus posterior horn. I can step on my foot and I don't have pain. do I need to be operated on or should I start the exercise?

  11. Hello mam i have maniscus tear on last week during the tournament match
    Could i recover without surgery
    Without eating non veg
    If yes then how much time taken my left knee to recover for the natural game movements
    I have acl surgery 3 year before of same knee

  12. Dr joe.i have a medial meniscus tear grade 2.i am 16years old. It's been 8weeks.i can doctor said to take 3months rest before I play football.but I played today.i didn't felt any pain while I played football.but I can't do squats or put weight on my injured leg when I go upstairs.its minor pain.its been 8weeks.will it heal completely after 3months

  13. Hi Dr Jo,
    I had a meniscal tear few years ago , but I did some therapy exercises like what you said and it feels good when I am normal. But when I do more active work like walking for 3 to 4 days continuously like an hour per each day, then my knee starts hurting and painful. Let me know please is there any way I can get it fix permanently with out arthroscopic surgery?

  14. Hi Dr Jo. I am suffering from maniscus tear in my left knee since last 3.5 yrs. I dont know about the level of it. But Dr advise me that it will be heal by exercise and it is normal. So i want know how much time it will be recover? Please advise me.

  15. Actually I met with an accident 2 months ago and got injured in my knee but still after treatment I am unable to straighten my knee properly if do it pains.
    What should I do?

  16. Due to a four year mobility problem all my leg muscles are really weak plus pain in the left knee. Having checked out this video, I thought the exercises would help my knee but found it impossible to lift either leg from laying face down on the floor. Could you recommend any video that may help this problem. Many Thanks in Anticipation.

  17. How soon after injury would you advise doing these exercises? I’m 11 days after injury , still slightly swollen and walking with aid of splint.Can a person do more damage to a tear doing these exercises too soon?
    Thank you and enjoyed your video.

  18. Hi Jo dis is venkat. Recently i checked my left leg with MRl the report shows lateral meniscus grade 3tear. Orthopedic doctor told me to do a minor operation. Is it operation is really required for dis case. Plz give me a genuine ans m js 26 years my life starts now only. Plzzz help me Jo…?

  19. Hi doctor Jo I hurt my knee about 2 weeks ago and at the time of injury I heard a popping sound but there was no swelling afterwards. My knee doesn’t hurt anymore unless I completely bend it back or straighten it with force. How long do you think I should wait and do you think that doing exercises like the ones you showed help avoid surgery?

  20. Hello doc.. My knee get locked when I crossed my leg in sitting position and it is painful to straighten my leg..and there is too much popping sound from my knee.. What to do…thnk u

  21. Hi doctor,i hurt my knee almost two months ago,during the first weeks I couldn't straighten my knee neither could I bend it(I feel the pain at the side and back of my knee),and after a month it started getting better, and now I can walk and I can bend it but it hurts when I stand for too long or when I try to squat,would these exercises be good for my case.

  22. Hii Dr. ur video had given me a confidence surely I will be following it…But it's six weeks that I am having medial minescus injury but after removing my knee braces it's little painful for me to walk for long or stand on injured leg…is it ok if I start with ur given exercises…pls reply…

  23. Hi Jo. thank you for this. I have been doing these exercises for two weeks. Its marginally better but it could be the fact that am not playing tennis, subsequently putting no stress on the knee. I had arthroscopy a year ago and it was fine for about a 14 months but it seems to have gone again. Any further suggestions?

  24. Hi Dr. Jo, had a sore and swollen knee for a month but I was still doing my routine on the treadmill. Started really hurting the other day and I needed to limp, then I got up from the floor on it, heard a pop and was in tremendous pain, couldn't walk or move it. Went to the hospital, they said I have arthritis and probably tore my meniscus. My question is that they told me to not put any weight on it for a week and just do some exercises, and I am and the pain has subsided but I really want to walk a bit, if I can without the crutches and I don't have pain, can I walk on it? It's been 3 days.

  25. These exercises look good. I had a meniscus tear on my right knee a couple of years ago, so I recognise the symptoms and the pain. I am going away on holiday in two months time, so I want to be strong and fit for walking, hiking etc.. I am going to do these exercises twice a day. Thank you for your advise.

  26. Hi Jo…I got my left knee injured and got grade iii medial miniscus tear two weeks back…got swelling and locking was there on my left knee, could not be able to bend my left knee.. undergoing physiotherapy right now and swelling came down n pain also coming down…I could able to bend better compared to earlier this point of time what kind of exercises I can do for complete recovery.?..what is your advice for me??..pls help me

  27. Mam my mri report seen mild intrasubstance hyperintensity seen within posterior horn medial meniscus not reaching upto articular surface
    Can i run mam
    What exercise
    Please help me mam

  28. But how about doc if its not yet undergo surgery one month now since the torn including my acl and mcl, should i do exercise the same as what you demonstrate before surgery..

  29. Thanks Dr
    I do have a recent partial tear in my medial meniscus in my left knee while playing football
    As confirmed by the MRI:
    * A suspected small grade III B tear posterior horn medial meniscus
    * Grade I sprain medial collateral ligament

    Such injury is about 14 days ago
    Yet i still feel some pain and as u said a sort of instability in my knee

    My doctor tell me to wait and see before rushing into an endoscope

    Will such stretches and exercises help

    Thanks alot for your valuable videos

  30. I've been doing these exercises for a month but am struggling to get the swelling down due to the need to walk everyday. I have tried resting for over a week with minimal walking but it didn't help much. Any advice?

  31. Hai doctor,
    3 months back I got Partial thick ACL tear. Iam not able to bend back my knee. Can i do this stretch?

  32. Thanks for all your great videos. I have hip and knee issues and have received a lot of improvement in strength and range of motion. I have been doing the clamshell exercises for about 3 weeks. It has really helped my knees and hips n

  33. Dr Jo, thanks for your tutorial. I had ACL and Meniscus repaired one month ago, but when I work on the exercises, I still feel the sharp pain sometimes, it's a sharp pain while I make a slight turn on my knee, or while bending 90 degree (not stiffness), or straighten the leg. I still cannot bend more than 90 degree one month after surgery, the physical therapy said my progress is slow. I am worried about the progress as well as wondering what's the reason behind the sharp pain ?? It caused me stop working more exercises, may I get an advice from you to continue the rehab ? Thanks a lot !!

  34. I had a successful ACLR but the doctor missed a flap tear in the posterior horn of medial meniscus. I have pain in full flexion still 8 months after the surgery. What do you recommend?

  35. I am having a horizontal tear of meniscus and Partial tear of Acl ligament
    What would be the exercises that need to be done to stabilize the knee and to stay away from surgery
    Please let me know

  36. Hi doc,
    Was diagnosed with meniscus tear NOS. Doc ordered MRI.
    I experience discomfort on achiles, heel, and calve muscle. Also a burning sensation on both knees.
    My question is…. are above mentioned symptoms consistent with d(x.)?
    I have an Ironman in 3 months!

    Thank you!

  37. Doc i had my acl and meniscus repair operation a year ago …iam getting slipped and in mri we found it is bucket handle tear its bcus the meniscus din heal tatsy …doctor is telling to remove the torn meniscus…or this can b cured wit exercises….. plsss tel me plsss

  38. So I do have a question. I rejoined Planet Fitness and was wondering, what machine would be good to use to warm up my leg before exercising? I have a Meniscus tare in my left leg. I've been using the sit down bike. And my 2nd question, will the Meniscus tare heal from exercising? My leg swells up every day and its hard to walk first thing in the morning when I wake up. Please let me know. I appreciate your time.

  39. Doctor ,I m from India and Ihave lateral meniscus tear in my right knee. I can run nd dance but some time my knee clicking in one particular position and i fall down. Will physical tharepy enough to heal my menicus or a surgery requires??????

  40. Hi doctor.I'm glad I found your video.can and should I do these stretches if the er put me in a velcro cast.I went from not being able to walk on it or straighten it out to being able to walk around.(slowy)it's getting better but I still can't fold my leg in all the way.and like you said it feels weird in my doc said it was swollen inside my knee from meniscus.

  41. I can do everything I need to do on my knee, but when it comes to moving my knee very quickly (horizontal movements) it feels as if it’s going to lock as it has done in the past, how do I get rid of this?

  42. Hello. I just cancelled a meniscus arthroscopy at a hospital because they insisted on inserting a breathing tube in my throat to administer anesthesia in addition to the intravenous and local anesthesia. My orthopedic doctor didn't think it was necessary at all, but the anesthesiologist insisted upon it. It seemed like too much anesthesia to me. I didn't want the pain, sore throat and nausea afterwards, so I walked. I inquired of others about their meniscus surgery and no one else had this thrust upon them except for one person who needed to use his own cpap machine for sleep apnea. What do you think about this?

  43. Perhaps worth mixing with DVT prevention exercises from another Dr Jo video. When your leg is resting it is at risk of developing blood clot.

  44. Hi dr jo I did mri & after my report says I have knee problem like this my meniscus tear also grade 1sprain of acl & the mcl nodescreate focal or full thickness articular cartilage defect small to moderate joint effusion so if I did this exercise then I don’t have to do surgery pls can you suggest me without surgery I can repair my knee pls tell me I am doing this meniscus exercise your video. Thx

  45. Hi Dr Jo . First my left leg meniscus tore . It tear because I slipped . But after surgery of left leg . After two months my right leg meniscus also tore now .I don't want surgery now .
    Is it possible that , By this excercises my tore meniscus can be recover??

  46. My pain started to reduce after doing exercises you mentioned in this video for 3 weeks. How long I should do the exercises to get rid of pain.

  47. My meniscus tore out of place, they stitched back into place do you know the likelihood of this healing properly

  48. Is this exercise is helpful for older Meniscus Tear? I have this problem for the last seven years.

  49. Hi Jo had surgery for Bucket handle tear surgery for Lateral meniscus and Screw fixation for PCL tear for Left knee. Kept complete bed rest and immobilized with brace for 6 weeks.Now since 10 days undergoing with PT .knee is bending only 40° only.Lot of pain during bending forcibly by PT.Please help me out

  50. Hey doctor please reply me
    I am a Indian 17 yrs old guy…. I have my left knee mri please help me out sir….
    1. Mild Patchy hyperintense signal noted in acl —sprain
    2. Radial tear noted in body of medial meniscus..
    3. Trochlear dysplasia with shallow trochlear sulcus..
    4. Hoffa's fat pad bursitis

  51. Doctor below is my MRI report:

    Horizontal tear in posterior horn of medial meniscus with 3.2 mm parameniscal cyst

    Doctor advise me to go for surgery, according to doctor tear is in the outer side of meniscus and physiotherapy will not help..

    Please advice should I go for surgery or not

  52. Hello ! Can an unoperated meniscus rub off cartilage? I want to do without surgery.

  53. had meniscus tear surgery two years ago and my leg does not straighten all the way anymore, and i also developed muscle atrophy – want can i do to help remedy this anomaly ?

  54. What if it might be a bucket handle tear? Can’t straighten my leg without pain
    Any exercise or stretch suggestions?

  55. My MRI shows this:
    "There is a horizontal cleavage tear of the lateral meniscus with extension into the inferior articular surface in the region of the posterior horn, with a prominent parameniscal cyst of size 8.5mm and 9.9mm"

    Could you tell me how much of a headache is this going to be for me? Also, can light excercises help in my case to recover?

  56. how often should the exercises be done? not being able to exercise properly is driving me bananas so I'm inclined to hulk out and do these every day but also in interest of recovery, maybe i shouldn't be? lol

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