Emergency icon Important Updates
Runner with meniscus tear holding knee

Meniscus Tear

One wrong step and — ouch! You’ve messed up your knee.

Now it’s swollen, feels wobbly and hurts to move it. It sounds like you could have torn your meniscus (c-shaped piece of cartilage in your knee). While an injury can often cause this, a meniscus tear can also happen as your cartilage wears out (degeneration). But no matter how you got it, chances are you’re feeling more than a little uncomfortable.

At Cleveland Clinic, our experienced team of providers want to help. Whether you’re an athlete who wants to get back on the field or someone who wants to enjoy their day pain-free, we offer personalized treatments and recovery programs to get you and your knee back to moving easily.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Torn Meniscus?

personalized care icon

Personalized care:

We’ll be by your side throughout your meniscus tear treatment. You’ll get prompt testing and a personalized treatment plan designed around your needs and goals. Once you’ve healed, experts in physical rehabilitation can help you strengthen your knee and get you back to peak performance. Meet our team.

specialized knowledge icon

Specialized knowledge:

Cleveland Clinic treats meniscus tears for many local high school and college sports teams. We help student-athletes of all skill levels learn how to prevent injuries. We also offer comprehensive return-to-play programs and can refer you to a specialist when needed.

Virtual Consultation icon

Virtual visits:

Many of our experts also offer virtual visits, as well as in-person appointments. This online alternative is ideal for routine appointments, diagnostic test reviews and treatment follow-ups. Talk with your provider to see if there are times you can meet with them from the comfort of home using your smartphone, computer or tablet.

national recognition icon

National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Diagnosing Meniscus Tears at Cleveland Clinic

When you come in to see us for the first time, our knee injury specialists will talk with you about your symptoms and may take an X-ray or do an MRI to see how bad your tear is. We’ll also look for other conditions (like osteoarthritis) that could affect your ability to heal. Sometimes, meniscus tears can happen with other injuries, like fractures or ACL tears.

Meet Our Meniscus Tear Team

When you see us for a meniscus tear, you’ll work with a team of expert providers, including:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Florida and London.

Meniscus Tear Treatment at Cleveland Clinic

Our experts will take the time to talk with you about how your meniscus tear is affecting your life. This helps us put together a treatment plan that focuses on your unique needs. We’ll consider many things when deciding on your treatment, including:

  • Your age.
  • How active you are.
  • The location of the tear.
  • If an injury caused the tear or if it’s degenerative from age or arthritis.
  • How much cartilage you still have in your knee.

All of this will help us decide if we can treat your knee without surgery.

Treating a meniscus tear without surgery

If you have a degenerative meniscus tear, treatments that don’t require surgery could be a good option. That’s because tears in the outer part of your meniscus (which has a good blood supply) are more likely to heal on their own with a little help.

If we decide to treat your meniscus tear without surgery, we might do:

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy is often all that’s needed to improve a degenerative meniscus tear. Our licensed physical therapists can help strengthen your knee and help it move better. They’ll put together a supervised exercise program and help you adjust your daily activities so you can do tasks safely and with less pain.
  • Joint injections: These include corticosteroid injections, viscosupplementation and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.
  • Offloading braces: Specially-fitted knee braces can redistribute pressure from one side of your knee joint to the other. Taking stress off your damaged meniscus helps relieve pain and lets the cartilage heal.

Meniscus tear surgery

Has your provider decided that meniscus surgery is the way to go? Not to worry. Our surgeons are experts in minimally invasive arthroscopic (looking inside the joint) knee surgery. Instead of the large, single incision (cut) you’d get in open surgery, they’ll make two or three tiny incisions in your knee.

Then they’ll use an arthroscope (lighted tube with a magnifying lens and video camera) to see inside your knee joint. Tiny surgery tools inserted in the small incisions let them operate on your meniscus without damaging the surrounding tissues. Knee arthroscopy helps you heal quicker and lowers the risk of complications.

Your surgeon will talk with you about your surgery options, including:

  • Partial meniscectomy: If your knee pain hasn’t gotten better with a minimally invasive treatment, we may recommend a partial meniscectomy. This arthroscopic procedure lets us look inside your joint and clean out any damaged cartilage. We try to keep as much healthy cartilage as possible so that your knee joint still has padding and stability. A partial meniscectomy also works well if you have degenerative (broken down) tears in the middle part of your meniscus. It usually takes about six to 12 weeks to recover from this procedure.
  • Meniscus repair surgery: If you’re young and active with acute tears on the outer part of your meniscus, we may recommend meniscus repair surgery. During this arthroscopic surgery, we reattach the torn pieces of cartilage with dissolvable stitches. It can take up to six months to recover from this surgery.

Taking the Next Step

Knee pain from a meniscus tear can slow you down and take you out of the game. And it can be pretty uncomfortable. But there’s relief in sight. Cleveland Clinic experts are here to figure out what kind of meniscus tear you have and repair it with treatment that’s just right for you. Then we’ll help you strengthen your knee so you can get back to being active and enjoying life.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic meniscus tear experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic meniscus tear experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Billing & Insurance

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.


Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.

Health Library
Back to Top