Meniscus tear is a common knee injury that caused knee joint pain.
What is meniscus?
Each knee joint contains medial (inner) meniscus and lateral (outer) meniscus. Meniscus are cartilage tissue which act like shock absorbers in the knee joint. It distribute our body weight when we walk or run. The meniscus also helps to keep the knee stable and movement smooth.
How do meniscus tear and injury occurs?
1) A meniscus can be torn fully or partially, commonly after a forceful twisting injury to the knee, especially in a weight bearing position. The meniscus injury seriousness is depends on how much is torn and the exact site of the tear.
Meniscus tear, strain and injury is a common sport injuries, especially rugby, soccer, martial arts, badminton, tennis, golf.
2) Meniscal tears may also occur without a sudden severe injury. In some cases a tear develops due to repeated small injuries to the cartilage or to degeneration (wear and tear) of the meniscal cartilage in older people. In severe injuries, other parts of the knee (eg ligament strain, muscle tear) may also be damaged in addition to a meniscal tear.
Meniscal cartilage does not heal fully when is torn because it does not have a good blood supply. A tear on the outer part of each meniscus has some blood vessels and may heal, but a larger tear or center/middle tear of menicus tend not to heal as has no direct blood supply.
What are the signs and symptoms of a meniscus tear?
The severity of symptoms of a meniscal injury depend on the type and position of the meniscal tear.
– Pain: Knee pain is often worse when you extending the leg, squatting or weight bearing position
– Tenderness along the knee joint line
– Swelling: Knee often swells within a day or two of the injury. If the tear is due to knee degeneration, knee may look slightly swollen for several months
– Restriction of range of motion in the knee joint: this can be due to the torn meniscal flap or the effusion.
– Locked, clicking, catching: A ‘locked’ feeling on the knee that cannot be straightened, eg if one has been sitting with bent knees. The knee can suddenly lock on twisting and then unlock with an audible click.
– Walking: may be difficulty
Our physiotherapist will be able to perform a few tests to determine whether there is a meniscal injury. However not all meniscus injuries are positive on testing and an MRI scan may be necessary to diagnose the injury.
What can Physiotherapy do for Meniscus Knee Pain and Injury?
What can physiotherapy do for Knee Meniscus Tear And Injury?
The treatment of meniscal injuries varies considerably depending on the severity of the injury. Normally small tears or degenerative tears can be treated conservatively with physiotherapy this includes:
- Reducing knee pain & swelling: Ultrasound, electrotherapy, TENS, laser, shockwave therapy
- Restoring range of motion through manual techniques, joint mobilisation, massage, gentle movement and stretching.
- Improve weight bearing ability/ gait.
- Exercises for stretching and strengthening surrounding muscles.
- Progressive return to sports, running and agility work.
If the meniscal injury is large and causing a locked knee it may require an operation with our orthopedics surgeons. Following knee surgery, physiotherapy is important to regain back function as soon as possible. The time frame for recovery for such an injury may vary depending on the degree of the injury; consult with your physiotherapist as to how long it may take you to recover.