Knee Meniscal Tear

Also known as or related to:

Pain inside of knee, catching knee pain, knee locking, catching knee.

What is the Meniscus?

The Meniscus in the knee joint is a disc of cartilage in the middle of the knee that separates the end of the thigh bone and start of the shin bone. This is commonly referred to as the 'Cartilage' in your knee.

Tears in the Meniscus Causes:

Sometimes a small tear can appear in the knee meniscus. This can be caused by an awkward twist, sports injury, an accidental fall (especially with the knee slightly bent) or sometimes you may not recall any specific event as the cartilage has just 'let go'.


Clicking, popping or locking of the knee are common symptoms of a meniscal tear. Pain and sometimes some swelling usually presents along the side of the knee joint line. Pain will normally be felt when pressing along the knee joint line and it will usually be painful to squat.


Most patients who present to Shoes Feet Gear have worked through the initial diagnosis with their medical specialist or physiotherapist and investigated any surgical repair options that might be suitable to them.

There are different types of meniscal tears depending on the size of the tear, the shape of the tear and the location. Some tears will have a chance of healing and some significant tears will benefit from surgical help.

Generally, cartilage and the meniscus is extremely slow to heal as there isn't a lot of blood flow to cartilage. This results in most patients (whether they have had surgery or not) being left with experiencing some pain or discomfort with activity.

There are plenty of solutions to reduce the force through this damaged area, even in acute tears of the meniscus that aren't going to benefit from surgery. Reducing the force through the damaged area will reduce the pain, improve the amount of exercise able to be performed which in turn strengthens and stabilises the knee. 

Research shows that the more strength, stability and the more you can use your knee, the less arthritis and damage you will experience in the future.

Shoes for Meniscal Tears:

When the cartilage cushioining between the joints has been damaged, being fitted with a shoe that has the ultimate cushioning will help. Be careful, as the shoe still needs to be stable not just super cushioned. Imagine standing on a very soft pillow - the softer the pillow, the wobblier you become. Shoes need clever design to be super cushioned and not wobbly.

Support to stop your foot rolling inwards is not a good thing for meniscal tears that are on the inside of your knee. The hard materials used on the inside part of the shoe to stop your foot rolling inwards push harder on the inside of your foot and harder on the inside part of your knee. This can increase pressure on the damaged part of your knee.

Orthotics for knee arthritis 

Standard prescription orthotic designs can actually aggravate meniscal tears. The force to stop your foot rolling inwards can sometimes increase the force on the inside of the knee and aggravate any meniscal tear that might be located here.

In the same way, we can use the opposite angles in a prescription orthotic to transfer the force to the undamaged part of the knee and offload the damaged part of the knee. This works very well to reduce force and instability, reduce pain, increase activity levels and promote long term protection.

Long Term Meniscal Tear Management:

Damage to the cartilage meniscus in the knee progresses to longer term wear and tear arthritis (knee osteoarthritis). To slow this progress these things help:

- Cushioned and stable shoes

- Specifically designed prescription orthoses to offload that damaged area

- Building and maintaining daily activity levels and muscle strength