T Nation

Complex Tear on Lateral Meniscus


About 3 1/2 months ago i felt a pop on my knee while doing light squats. A few days later i was playing basketball and my knee popped again as i was landing from a rebound. Immediately after the pop i felt a lot of pain and could barely walk. I went to the doctor immediately and got X-rays done and of course it showed nothing lol.

After getting my MRI done i had a complex tear on my lateral meniscus and a lcl sprain. At this point in time i can walk with no pain and walk up stairs with no problem. I have full range of motion with no locking or giving out. The orthopedic surgeon suggested i start working out my legs again as long as the pain is bearable.

Now for my question

Will my meniscus heal over time?
Do i need surgery to get me back to deadlifting and squats.


In regards to question 1: This depends on the location of the actual tear, the outer third of the meniscus is relatively vascularized resulting in a greater potential to heal. The inner 2/3 of the meniscus is relatively avascular diminishing its regenerative properties. Typically labeling a meniscus as being a complex tear implies injury extending into the inner 2/3.
Surgery is generally not required unless a person experiences persistent swelling and/or instability and dysfunction.

In regards to lifting, squatting below parallel may cause you irritation as forces acting on the meniscus increase with increased knee flexion, you may want to squat at 90 degrees and above, again this has great individual variation and you may be just fine going below and you as a person need to do a risk-reward analysis. Dead-lifting inherently requires less knee flexion so I do not anticipate you having problems with d/l. You may have to make adjustments as far as frequency and volume to your program.


If cost isn't an issue have surgery done. There have been several guys on my football team have surgery and play 4 weeks later. As far as knees and surgery go a Meniscus is fairly simple to fix.

I agree with the above post anything near 90 degrees or below will cause LOTS of stress on the cartilage. And one question, when knee is locked out at 180 degrees is the any grinding, instability, or buckling?