J Knee Surg 2014; 27(06): 459-478
DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1394299
Special Focus Section
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Rehabilitation of Meniscal Injury and Surgery

John T. Cavanaugh
1   Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

05 May 2014

01 September 2014

Publication Date:
12 November 2014 (online)


Meniscal cartilage plays an essential role in the function and biomechanics of the knee joint. The meniscus functions in load bearing, load transmission, shock absorption, joint stability, joint lubrication, and joint congruity. Individuals today are increasingly more active in later decades of life. Although the incidence of meniscal pathology is difficult to estimate, this increased exposure to athletic activity increases the risk of injury to these structures. Hede and coworkers reported the mean annual incidence of meniscus tears as 9.0 in males and 4.2 in females per 10,000 inhabitants. Tears were found to be more common in the third, fourth, and fifth decades of life. It has become clearer in recent decades that meniscal excision leads to articular cartilage degeneration. Degenerative changes have been found to be directly proportional to the amount of meniscus removed. Therefore, it has been generally recognized that the amount of meniscal tissue removed should be minimized, repaired, or replaced. Whether a meniscal lesion is treated conservatively or surgically, the rehabilitation program will play an important role in the functional outcome. This article will discuss these programs and the various treatment strategies employed.