Your meniscus is a piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber in your knee. The meniscus fits between two of your leg bones, the femur, or thigh bone, and the tibia, one of the bones in your lower leg. You've got two menisci--one in the inner part of your knee joint, and one on the outside area. A torn meniscus is a common sports injury, and can create pain, swelling and a limited range of motion in your knee. Runners need to recover properly before beginning to run again after a meniscus injury.
Rest your knee for the appropriate length of time after your meniscus injury before you begin to run again. Colorado-based Steadman Clinic, a sports medicine treatment center, explains that you can risk tearing your meniscus more if you don't let it heal before resuming your running. If your injury is minor, and doesn't require surgery, you can usually run again after the pain is gone. But that could take as long as a month to six weeks. Surgical repair for meniscal injuries may sideline you for at least three months.
Wrap your knee in a compression bandage, or wear a knee brace that gives your joint support while you run. The Mayo Clinic explains that bandaging or bracing your knee helps keep the joint in proper alignment, and reduces any fluid buildup that may occur. Your doctor or physical therapist might recommend a specific brace based on your condition and workout habits.
Ease into your running routine gradually after a meniscus injury. Talk to your medical care providers about appropriate distances to begin running now that you're on the mend. Immediately returning to your full load may cause you to regress or re-injure yourself. Run on grass or softer surfaces rather than hard pavement that puts more pressure on your knees.
Ice your knee after running to reduce any swelling that may occur during your workout. Though your injury might not give you any more pain, a recent injury still can become inflamed during vigorous activity. The Stretching Institute recommends icing for about 20 minutes, but suggests that you take the ice off your knee earlier if you begin to experience discomfort from the cold.
Incorporate stretching exercises for the upper leg that benefit meniscus tear recovery into your pre-run warmup. Cigna suggests quad sets and hamstring curls, both of which strengthen the muscles in your thighs and contribute to a stronger knee.
Sit on the floor with your leg straight out in front of you to perform a quad set. Tighten your thigh muscles and push the back of your knee down into the floor. To strengthen your hamstrings, lie on your stomach and bend your leg at the knee so the sole of your foot is facing the sky. Bring your foot toward your buttocks until you feel a pull, but no pain.