Mountain biking is a great way to get exercise and it’s always fun, but can you mountain bike with a torn meniscus?
That depends on the severity of your injury. A meniscus tear is an injury that occurs when the cartilage in the knee joint moves out of place.
If it doesn’t heal properly, this can lead to chronic knee pain and arthritis. It typically takes about six weeks for a torn meniscus to heal completely.
Meaning that you should stop biking until you’re completely healed.
For some people, physical therapy can speed up healing time while others may need surgery or other treatments like stem cell injections or PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy.
Here we will explore what you should do if you’re considering mountain biking with a torn meniscus and how
Symptoms of a torn meniscus
The symptoms of a torn meniscus include:
1) Swelling in the knee
This is the most common sign of a meniscal tear. It may not seem like it, but the knee joint needs its soft tissues to function properly.
If the cartilage is no longer smooth and flat, this can cause pain at any time of day or night.
Swelling is common because injured meniscal tissue continues to bleed into the joint. This causes fluid to build up on the knee joint.
2) Locking of the kneecap
The meniscus is attached to the sides of the femur and this helps keep your knee stable.
However, if it’s torn or damaged, your kneecap may slip out of place when you’re walking, running, or cycling.
Locking typically occurs during the middle of an activity. This is because your muscles are contracting at the time and they can’t stabilize your knee properly.
3) A grindy sensation under your kneecap
If you feel like there is sand or rocks inside the joint, this may be a sign that your meniscus has torn or damaged tissue.
Dr. Tim McAdams, an orthopedic surgeon at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in California, says that patients often feel this under their kneecaps.
4) A snapping sensation around the knee
If you hear a snapping or clicking noise around your knee while walking, running or cycling, this may not be normal and it could mean you have a torn meniscus.
5) Low back pain
You may also feel this type of pain because your leg isn’t as stable as it should be and this can cause an imbalance in the muscles around your knee, hip and pelvis regions.
Treatment options for a tear in the knee
There are several ways you can use to treat a torn meniscus. Some of them include:
1) Watchful waiting
Watchful waiting is a treatment option for a mild to moderate meniscus tear in which you don’t do anything.
Physical therapy and medication can speed up the healing process if you choose this route. However, surgery may be necessary if there’s too much pain or your knee locks up when you’re walking or running.
PRP is a treatment option that uses your own blood to treat an injury. It can be very effective in cases of tendon, ligament and cartilage injuries.
However, it’s not considered safe for people with bleeding disorders. PRP can help improve the meniscus’ healing process since human tissue cells are injected into the knee.
Surgery is typically used when other types of treatments do not work or if you have a severe meniscus tear.
It can also be helpful when people don’t want to use medication for one reason or another.
Surgery is often conducted in an outpatient setting at your local hospital and it usually takes less than an hour to complete.
While surgery is the most common method used for torn meniscus treatment, there are several different types of operations that can be performed.
- Arthroscopy – This process involves making small incisions in your knee and using a special camera called an arthroscope to help your surgeon see the inside of your knee joint.
- Laser surgery – The meniscus can be removed using a probe that sends laser pulses to the injured area. Laser surgery is commonly used because it’s less invasive than other methods and there’s less bleeding involved.
- Molding and shaving – Your surgeon may use this method if there are only minor rips in the meniscus. Molding and shaving can reduce pain and swelling.
- Repair – Your surgeon may use this method if your meniscus tear is severe enough to affect your mobility or ability to walk, run or cycle.
What is left are physical therapy exercises for meniscus tears. These are very effective at reducing pain, improving mobility and overall function.
Physical therapy for meniscus tears usually starts with gentle movements that help the patient get used to their new treatment plan.
Once they are ready, more strenuous exercises can be performed to strengthen your knee muscles. Physical therapists typically recommend several different types of exercises:
Is it OK to ride a bike with a meniscus tear?
Unfortunately, many people will continue to do this. However, riding a bike that is too low of resistance or without proper form can be dangerous for your knees which include the meniscus.
Without proper form, you are more likely to injure your knee further than if riding with a torn meniscus. It will be very painful and set you further back in the progress of healing.
This is why it is important to speak with your doctor or physical therapist before engaging in any high-impact aerobic activity, such as mountain biking, that places heavy stress on your legs.
Can You Mountain Bike With a Torn Meniscus?
Yes, (even though I don’t recommend it) it is safe to mountain bike with a torn meniscus as long as you are being careful with the movements your make and taking proper precautions by wearing knee pads or protection!
If you feel pain when riding then stop immediately. Take it lighter and slowly work your way up to heavier resistance as you heal.
However, if you are wondering whether or not you should take a break from cycling after your surgery then the answer is YES! You should definitely wait until after your stitches are removed to even consider riding again. T
his will help make your recovery go much better and make sure you get back to mountain biking in the future.
How long before I’m riding again after surgery?
It depends on how well you recover after surgery, but most patients are walking right away or are able to ride a stationary bike within one week.
Most surgeons recommend waiting at least two weeks before engaging in any high-impact aerobic exercise.
This allows for your incisions to heal and the pain to subside before riding again.
My Final Thoughts…
After a torn meniscus, it is important to speak with your doctor before engaging in any high-impact activities such as mountain biking.
There are a plenty of other low-impact exercises that can be performed while healing from a meniscus tear that will help strengthen the muscles in your leg and around the knee region.
This will help tremendously in your recovery and ability to ride again after surgery.
Being careful and taking the proper precautions before and while riding is very important, especially if you want to do any form of mountain biking!