Q&A: Partial knee meniscectomy

Bulletproof Knees

I had partial meniscectomy done recently (70% of anterior medial meniscus is gone due to bucket handle tear). Now I’m recovering fine, with no pains, swelling or clicking whatsoever, but I was told to avoid impact activities, and pretty much to stick to biking only.

I don’t like “biking only” idea, since it would probably overdevelop quad relative to posterior chain. So I’d prefer to do deadlifts and bulgarian single leg squats (or reverse lunges) as well, and possibly more.

Do you think these activities 3x week will accelerate the cartilage wear due to meniscus deficiency?


P.S. My surgeon was not enthusiastic about any exercise that put knee under load when flexed over 45% degrees. And sticking to that rule results in a very pathetic range of exercises….

G –

First off, thanks for purchasing Bulletproof Knees!  Let’s take a look at your question.

Keep in mind that even with a partial meniscectomy, contact stresses are going to be increased in your knee.  When they take out any portion of your meniscus, you lose some of your body’s shock absorbing capacity.The greater the section removed, the greater the increase in stress.  As well, it’s generally accepted that increases in knee flexion (i.e. more range of motion) further increases these stresses.

However, there’s a lot more to it than simply giving you a cookie-cutter answer.  I would ask you the following:

–       What is your age?

–       What is your current activity level?

–       What are your short and long-term physical/athletic goals?

Without knowing more about you, I can’t tell you “Do this,” or “Do that.”  I’ve known people with really dodgy knees whose only goal was to successfully compete in Olympic of Powerlifting meets, so my advice to them would be different than what it might be to you.

I think what you need to do is figure out what you want to accomplish long-term, and then proceed accordingly.  If you want to strength train for as long as possible, here are a few suggestions:

–       Train with a vertical tibia. This means single-leg work, squatting, deadlifting, etc.  As my good buddy Charlie Weingroff always says, a vertical tibia helps spare the knee.

–       Reduce high impact/high force activities. Unless you want to play high-level sports, I would reduce or eliminate most plyometrics, jumps, etc.  Obviously O-lifts and heavy squats/deads could be placed here, but most people aren’t willing to give these up!

–       Foam roll/static stretch/warm-up how I outline in the knee manual. Improving soft-tissue length and tension around the hip, knee and ankel is very important.  It’s worked for a lot of people, and it should work for you as well.

It’s not a cut-and-dry answer, as you can see, but hopefully this has given you some insight to work from.

Good luck with your training!



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