What Are the Treatments for Torn Cartilage in the Knee?


Torn cartilage in the knee can seriously impede normal knee joint function and cause severe pain. Adequately treating a knee cartilage tear can help speed recovery and prevent complications.

Conservative Treatment

  • When a knee cartilage tear is not severe and does not cause significant pain or mobility issues, over-the-counter pain medication and activity modification are used.

Knee Joint Injection

  • The pain and irritation caused by torn knee cartilage can be reduced and managed with a knee joint injection. This involves injecting the area of torn cartilage with a corticosteroid, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.

Arthroscopic Surgery

  • Arthroscopic surgery is used to trim or repair an area of torn knee cartilage. A relatively minor procedure, arthroscopic surgery involves inserting a tiny camera into the joint to visualize the joint surfaces. Small surgical instruments can then used in the joint to make repairs.

Knee Cartilage Removal

  • When knee cartilage tears are severe or are causing significant pain and irritation, surgery can remove the damaged portion of cartilage. In some cases, the entire flap of cartilage lining either side of the knee joint is removed.


  • Knee cartilage tears often lead to degenerative changes within the knee joint over time. Osteoarthritis, which is a wear-and-tear form of arthritis, is a common occurrence following many types of knee injuries, including cartilage tears.

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