Nonsurgical treatment options for torn cartilage in the knee include RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation), along with anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Surgical treatment options include using an arthroscope to trim or stitch up damaged cartilage, according to Mayo Clinic.
Treatment options vary based on the location and size of the tear. Cartilage tears found on the outer edges of knee have a greater chance of healing without surgical intervention using RICE and anti-inflammatory medications because the outer edges receive a steady flow of blood which enables wounds to heal properly, as reported by the AAOS. Cartilage tears found on the inner two-thirds of the knee require surgery because the inner parts of the knee do not receive enough blood to help these wounds heal.
Two types of surgical treatments for torn cartilage include meniscectomy and menicus repair, according to the AAAOS. Meniscectomy involves trimming damaged cartilage, while menicus repair involves stitching pieces of torn cartilage back together. Surgical treatment options require physical therapy afterwards to improve range of motion and strengthen the knee. Patients may have to wear a cast or knee brace and use crutches until the tear heals.