You probably know someone who’s had a torn meniscus. It is the most common knee injury in the US. I know people that play sports and people that don’t do anything but sit at a desk all day. They all have a high risk for a tear if they don’t actively reduce that risk.

Here’s some info from the Mayo Clinic.

What is a meniscus tear?

The knee has two pads on each side. When there is instability in the knee joint these pads can take on more stress than they should and break under the pressure. Damage can happen whether it’s long-term wear and tear or a single incident of excessive force.

Why do tears happen?

There are 3 main reasons tears can happen.

  1. Lack of strength and muscle mass in the primary muscles. Your muscles not only provide power for movement but they also help absorb impact and distribute force throughout your body. Low muscle mass means more force absorption placed on your joints.
  2. Lack of stability in the joint. When someone is generally weak, has low muscle mass, and a lack of strength in the lower body, they’re movement is compromised because the wrong muscles are doing all the work. We have big movement muscles and we have smaller supporting muscles. If we don’t train the big guys then the small guys have to do the movement work, instead of what they’re supposed to do to keep our joints safe.
  3. A range of motion issue. This goes in two directions. You can either be too limited or have too much movement in the joint. Either way, there is added stress put on the joint over time because the movement of the joint is not going to be optimal for long-term performance. You could tear your meniscus getting out of your car if you don’t address the problem.

See where this is going?

The 3 main ways to reduce your risk of a meniscus tear.

  1. Build strength and add muscle
  2. Improve joint stability
  3. Improve your range of motion

Many people get injured as a result of long-term issues with improper movement and stress on the knees. It’s often something basic and simple that causes the pain when it’s really been an issue for a long time.

It’s not an overnight fix but you can significantly improve your lifestyle and reduce your risk by working on these three things.


Find a program that addresses each of these aspects of knee health and is adept at coming up with a plan that works for you specifically. You may be athletic, someone else may not. You don’t want to get the same solution as the other person if it doesn’t help you meet your goals.

The programs at Ellicott City Health and Fitness provide opportunities to improve these and many other aspects of fitness. To learn more go here and we’ll talk about what you’re looking for.