A meniscus is a cartilaginous structure in the knee joint that provides cushioning and a shock absorbing effect, it also assists in the role of nourishing the knee joint. There are 2 menisci in each knee -medial meniscus and lateral meniscus. An injury to either of them can cause altered biomechanics in the knee joint, creating pain.
A meniscal tear can be:
1) Traumatic or
The most common mechanism for a traumatic meniscal tear is a twisting injury on a weight bearing knee that is slightly bent. It normally occurs in athletes or due to high impact activities.
A degenerative meniscal tear occurs in the absence of a trauma. It depends on the age of the person, their daily activities and the deterioration of the meniscal tissue, to a certain degree over the years. It generally occurs when people are in their 40’s and 50’s.
• Medial or lateral knee pain
• Locking of knee
• Popping /clicking in the knee
Symptoms are frequently worsened by bending or loading the knee, activities such as squatting, twisting and kneeling are poorly tolerated.
How to rehabilitate from a torn meniscus
Not all meniscal lesions or tears require surgery, they can also be treated by a Physiotherapist.
In the acute phase RICE is very important in the first 24 hours
R-rest, I- ice, C- compression & E- elevation
This helps to reduce the pain and swelling. The most common recommendation for ice application is 20mins every 3-4 hours for the first 48 to 72 hours.
Once the above is done, you also need to include a good rehabilitation program to regain normal function and movement of the knee and the muscles around the knee.
A rehab program should consist of
• strength exercises
• flexibility exercises
• joint mobilisation /range of movement exercises
• balance, proprioception and agility
A good program should aim to get you back to your previous functional level as well as helping you to prevent re-occurrence of your injury.
If you have any of the above symptoms, immediately call your nearest Core Physiotherapy and Pilates Studio, and make an appointment for a detailed assessment. As well as a structured and tailored rehabilitation program for your meniscus.
This blog was written by Maddie Iyer one of the Physiotherapists from the Christies Beach practice.