Meniscus Repair Surgery Recovery Guide

Rehabilitation After Meniscus Repair

General Principles:

Approximately 80% of meniscus tears are not repairable. In these cases, the torn meniscus is removed to eliminate pain and improve function. patients are allowed to recover at their own pace without restrictions.

Meniscus repair surgery recovery, however, consists of distinct phases. It is possible to overlap phases depending on the individual progress of the patient. It is also possible to move backward if a patient struggles with a particular phase of the protocol. We have provided approximate time markers for phases, but actual meniscus tear recovery time varies among individuals. My protocol below will be implemented by a physical therapist that we recommend.


Meniscus Repair Surgery Recovery Phase I:
Control Pain and Swelling

1 to 14 Days After Surgery

  • Full passive knee extension and 90 degrees of flexion
  • Independent straight leg raise - electrical stimulation at 60 degrees knee flexion
  • Non-weight bearing for 2 weeks
  • Reduce swelling- cryotherapy and e-stim

Meniscus Repair Surgery Recovery Phase II:
Early Mobilization

Approximately Weeks 2-6 After Meniscus Surgery

  • Maintain full extension with heel props and prone hangs
  • Flexion to 90 degrees
  • Strengthen core

Meniscus Repair Surgery Recovery Phase III:
Static Conditioning

Start at 6-8 Weeks Post Meniscus Surgery

Begin flexing beyond 90 degrees with goal of attaining 125 degrees without force

Meniscus Repair Surgery Recovery Phase IV:
Restoration of 80% Strength

Progress if no regression, swelling, giving-way, increased pain or stiffness (soreness is normal)

  • Quadriceps tone continues to improve with noticeable quadriceps definition returning
  • Return to full daily activities and achieve at least 80% strength

Meniscus Repair Surgery Recovery Phase IV:
Dynamic Phase

3-6 Months After Meniscus Surgery Progress if no regression, swelling, giving-way, increased pain, or stiffness (soreness is normal)

  • Proprioceptive/agility specific program
  • Complete a sport specific functional progression

Meniscus Repair Surgery Recovery Phase V: Ballistic

4-6 Months into Meniscus Surgery Recovery

  • More advanced sports-specific drill at competitive speeds
  • Controlled participation in practices
Graduation from Phase V of the meniscus tear recovery protocol means the patient is ready to progress to practice time and supervised competition. Close observation by an athletic trainer and coaches is needed to identify any red flags signifying lack of confidence, apprehension or favoring. If red flags present, then may need to move back to Phase V.