Can You Go Hiking With A Torn Meniscus? (Explained)

Can You Go Hiking With a Torn Meniscus

If you’re an athlete, you’ll constantly experience the problem of dealing with a torn meniscus.

But when that happens, do you always have to halt your hiking even when you feel little or no pain in the affected knee?

Well, here is my answer to whether or not you can go hiking with a torn meniscus.

Going hiking after a meniscal tear depends solely on the site of injury and the severity; In contrast, a simple meniscal tear requiring no surgery will allow you to hike freely, while a surgically-treated one will need you to take some time off. However, in whatever case you find yourself, please communicate with your doctor before deciding what to do.

After going through the whole of this guide, you’ll know the extent to which a meniscal tear can affect hiking.

In the end, you’ll be able to tell if hiking with a torn meniscus worsens the injury or not.

Should You Hike With a Torn Meniscus?

Can You Go Hiking With a Torn Meniscus

A torn meniscus shouldn’t affect your hiking as long as the injury isn’t severe.

So, you can have a meniscal tear and still go hiking; all you’ll need to do is discuss with your doctor for assurance. 

If the torn meniscus isn’t so severe and would heal over a few days to weeks, you can go hiking with it.

In such cases, you’ll be sure to have your doctor encourage you on the need for hiking; in most cases, hiking with a mild meniscal tear gradually improves healing. 

However, although moderate exercise, such as hiking, improves the healing of meniscal tears, there are certain activities you must avoid.

These activities wouldn’t only cause a reduction in the meniscal tear’s healing process but predispose it to further tearing.

Hence, try as much as possible to avoid engaging in the activities listed below;

  • Deep Squatting
  • Jumping
  • Pivoting
  • Climbing
  • Twisting
  • Lunging

Another factor determining the extent to which you can hike with a torn meniscus is your tolerance to pain. 

Because whether it’s a mild, moderate, or severe meniscal tear, you’ll experience pain and discomfort on that limb.

Depending on the severity of the pain and your tolerance to it, you may be able to hike some distances. 

However, in certain cases, you’ll have to take a few over-the-counter drugs, such as analgesics, to relieve the pain.

If you take the analgesics and still feel pain, I recommend you see your doctor for a better prescription and clearance for hiking. 

Also, it’s possible to have a tear that isn’t responsive to drugs alone but to surgical intervention. 

In that case, your doctor will advise you to halt hiking until the injury completely heals.

Therefore, hiking with a torn meniscus depends largely on its severity and your pain tolerance level.

Can You Hike Uphill With a Torn Meniscus?

Hiking uphill after a tear to your meniscus solely depends on you and the injury severity.

While some people might be unable to use that knee for a while until it heals, you might find it a piece of cake.

Your pain threshold and how well you can handle injuries are major determinants. So, if you feel the meniscus tear isn’t severe enough to keep you from hiking uphill, please go ahead.

Although however good that may seem, hiking uphill can worsen the outcome of a meniscus tear. 

Hence, before hiking uphill after a meniscus tear, I suggest you have your physical therapist or doctor check the knee status. 

That way, you’ll have medical backing on the reality of resuming your hiking or even going on uphill hiking.

Also, even though you can go on hiking with a meniscus tear, there’s a great chance that you’ll end up with bigger issues.

Hence, it’d be wise to weigh the risks and benefits of hiking uphill with a meniscal tear.

For further clarity, I’ll use this table to show you some pros and cons of hiking uphill with a meniscal tear.

Pros Cons 
Hiking uphill with a torn meniscus will give you an idea of your pain threshold.Doing that may cause the pain to become more severe.
It’d give you a continual sense of purpose.Hiking uphill with a torn meniscus may worsen the meniscal tear.
It’d reduce the rate of psychological issues such as depression.Cause the tear to extend beyond the meniscus to affect other structures in the knee joint.

How Far Can You Walk With a Torn Meniscus?

The answer to that depends on how severe the meniscus injury is and how far you can walk amidst the pain.

If the pain isn’t severe but mild to moderate, it’ll be possible to walk farther with the torn meniscus.

However, if the pain worsens, you’ll find it difficult to move longer distances. In certain cases, taking pain relievers can help reduce the pain while you take longer steps.

The disadvantage of using analgesics is that it masks the pain and restricts you from knowing when the meniscus pain gets worse. 

Another factor that greatly improves how far you can go with a meniscal tear is knee braces

Knee braces help keep the knee stable while limiting it from extreme positions like twisting, pivoting, or bending.

However, you must understand that knee braces don’t heal the meniscal tears but limit further movement, worsening the injury. 

Hence, I’ll advise you to consult a physician to treat the meniscus tear to avoid further damage when you return to hiking.

Does Hiking With a Torn Meniscus Make It Worse?

Rather than making it worse, hiking with a torn meniscus improves its outcome. However, that depends on the extent of the injury.

If you have a simple meniscal injury requiring no surgery, then hiking will reduce the pain and cause it to heal faster.

But, if you experience so much pain in that knee to the point of having difficulty bearing weight, please consult your doctor.

You can also improve the meniscus tear while hiking by using crutches to support your gait

However, you might find that a little out of the line, but that’s the quickest way of improving the meniscus pain while still hiking.

Therefore, although hiking with a torn meniscus doesn’t make it worse, ensure to use crutches to help improve the general outcome.


#1. What Activities Should You Avoid With a Torn Meniscus?

When you have a meniscal tear, you should avoid activities such as deep squatting, jumping, and pivoting so that you don’t worsen the tear.

#2. Will a Torn Meniscus Heal Without Surgery?

A meniscal tear usually takes six to eight weeks to heal without surgery.

#3. Can You Ride a Bike With a Torn Meniscus?

Yes, you can ride a bike with a torn meniscus because that exercise improves the injury, and physical therapists often recommend it.

#4. What Percentage of Meniscus Tears Require Surgery?

Less than ten percent of patients older than 40 years with meniscus tears would often require surgical intervention. 

Final Thoughts

A meniscus tear is so painful that it can cause you to halt hiking until it heals adequately.

However, you can have a high pain threshold that allows you to continue hiking amidst the pain from the meniscus tear.

But in any case, it’ll be wise to properly treat the tear and get clearance from your doctor before continuing to hike.

Josh Matthews

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