Knee Cartilage Tears (Meniscus Injuries) and Laser

Author: Dr Robert Speirs |


A meniscus tear is a common knee injury. The meniscus is a tough, rubbery, C-shaped disc that cushions your knee. Each knee has two menisci, one at the outer edge of the knee and one at the inner edge. The menisci act as shock absorbers keep your knee steady by evenly balancing your weight across the knee. A torn meniscus can prevent your knee from working properly and can lead to accelerated wear of the joint.

Meniscus Tear Knee Pain Symptoms

The symptoms of a torn meniscus vary depending on the size and location of the tear. Since there are no nerve endings to the meniscus, pain is due to swelling and injury to surrounding tissues. The most common symptoms are the following:

  • Knee Pain usually at the side or center
  • Pain usually increases with squatting, lifting, or rising from a seated position
  • Can produce a “wobbly”unstable feeling
  • Swelling in the Knee
  • Catching or locking of the knee joint
  • Range of motion of the knee may be limited

Cause of Meniscus Tears in the Knee

  • Knee Injury- This usually occurs if there is sudden twisting or turning of the foot while it is planted and the knee is bent. Meniscal tears can also occur with heavy lifting, squatting, or in contact sports. Most likely to fragment.
  • Degenerative or Arthritic Knees- A meniscal tear may occur in a person over 40 who has dry, thin or weak cartilage. As the cartilage weakens it becomes more brittle and can easily tear. It is not uncommon for an individual with arthritis or degenerative knee joints to tear meniscus simply by getting up from a chair or climbing the stairs.

Meniscus Tear Knee Pain Treatment Options

The treatment for a meniscus tear is determined by the size, location of the tear, and the activity level of the patient. Some people respond well to non-invasive treatments while others have to have surgery. The location of the meniscus tear is one of the most important factors because that will determine how well the tear will heal.

  • Outer Edge (Red Zone)

The outer one third of the meniscus has its own blood supply. Tears in this area tend to heal well. Small and moderate sized tears tend to respond well to non- invasive treatment options like laser therapy. Laser treatment helps stimulate the healing and repair process by increasing blood flow and nutrients to the injured area and accelerating the growth of new tissue.

  • Inner Meniscus (White Zone)

The inner two thirds of the meniscus lacks good blood supply, so it does not heal well on its own. Even arthroscopic surgery, which is often suggested, may not work well due to the lack of healing ability in this part of the meniscus. Recovery may be difficult especially for older patients over 40 years of age.

Class IV Laser Knee Program

The Class IV Laser is at the heart of our treatment program. It provides a safe, effective, non-invasive, painless solution for knee pain. Patients respond exceptionally well to treatments and usually notice significant pain relief after just a few treatments.

Our program utilizes the latest in Class IV Lasers, and combines them with other therapies to help reduce the pain, strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, and increase range of motion. Most importantly these treatments help reduce inflammation/swelling, which helps improve overall function of the knee.