Meniscal Tear Treatments

Meniscal Tear Treatment at Fletcher Allen

Meniscal tear treatment options include:

  • Non-Surgical Treatments
    • Rest - Ice - Compression - Elevation (R.I.C.E.)
    • Physical Therapy
    • Medication
  • Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Non-Surgical Meniscal Tear Treatment

We prefer to take a conservative approach, by seeing if we can resolve your knee pain with non-surgical treatments first.

If your tear is small and on the outer edge of the meniscus, it may not even need surgery.  If your symptoms go away and your knee is stable, your tear may heal with some of the simple treatments outlined below.

Rest - Ice - Compression - Elevation (R.I.C.E.)

Fletcher Allen uses the R.I.C.E. protocol for most sports-related injuries. R.I.C.E. refers to:

  • Rest– Taking a break from the activity that caused the injury
  • Ice – Applying cold packs several times a day, as directed by your doctor
  • Compression – Compressing the knee with an elastic compression bandage to help prevent additional swelling and blood loss 
  • Elevation – Keeping your leg elevated above your heart to help reduce swelling

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be effective in restoring flexibility and muscle strength to aid in the non-surgical treatment of meniscal injury.

Learn about Fletcher Allen Physical Therapy.


Using over-the-counter medications to control pain and inflammation in the joints can be beneficial.

These medications include:

  • Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen to reduce inflammation
  • Acetaminophen to control pain

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery at Fletcher Allen

When non-surgical treatments are not successful, Fletcher Allen’s sports medicine and orthopedic specialists may recommend knee surgery to treat your problem.

We are experts in arthroscopic knee surgery (also called knee arthroscopy), which is a less invasive surgery than traditional, open-knee procedures and often offers a faster recovery.  Arthroscopy both examines and repairs the

inside of a joint.  Arthroscopic knee surgery is a commonly performed surgical procedure used to treat meniscal tears.  It is also used to repair damaged ligaments, injuries which often occur at the same time as a meniscal tear.

Arthroscopic knee surgery begins when the orthopedic surgeon inserts a miniature camera through a small incision.

The camera provides a clear view of the inside of the knee joint.  The view inside the joint is transmitted via fiber optic technology to a television monitor. The surgeon can then insert surgical instruments through other small incisions to trim or repair the meniscal tear.

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 802-847-2663.

Meniscal Tear Overview
Sports Injury Care Overview