A meniscus tear can result from excessive wear and tear or when you suddenly twist or rotate your knee during a sports activity. The risk of knee injury increases as you get older due to weakened cartilage and lowered flexibility. Early signs of a torn meniscus can include pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
Overview: Meniscus Tear
The knee joint has two pieces of cartilages called menisci, located between the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia). These act as shock absorbers and provide a pivotal role in providing stability during movement. It cushions the effects of movements (i.e. when you walk, climb stairs, run, kneel, play sports, etc.) to prevent the primary bones from grinding against each other and causing friction.
Meniscus tears occur when the cartilage is damaged or torn during high-risk activities that cause the knee joint to rotate forcefully or places excessive pressure on the cartilage. Common meniscus injuries include radial tears, bucket handle tears, and flap tears. Regardless of type, the risk of knee injury increases as one grows older due to overuse and deteriorating bones.
These tears cause swelling, limited mobility, and localized pain. Without intervention, your knee injury might worsen with time and impact your overall physical health. The reduced mobility and increased knee pain can disrupt your quality of life, preventing you from performing daily tasks.
Common signs of meniscus tears include:
- Swelling and inflammation
- Stiffness in the knee joint preventing you from straightening/bending the injured leg
- Pain, experienced when twisting/rotating or putting even slight pressure on the knee
- Weakness and fatigue
- Poor lower extremity coordination (i.e. inability to move lower limbs in the same direction)
- A popping sound/sensation felt with movement
- Catching or locking within your knee joint
Apart from this, you might feel that your knee is giving away (and you might fall). This tends to happen when you stand up or move after a prolonged period of sitting. The meniscus tear might cause persistent knee pain and complete loss of movement in the affected area.
Furthermore, the injured knee becomes susceptible to knee osteoarthritis due to the natural degenerative process.
- Wear and tear of muscles due to occupational/daily routine (like deep squatting or prolonged kneeling)
- Hyper-flexion of the knee joint
- Obesity causes a person to place excessive weight on the knee joint when they stand/move
- Lifting heavy objects frequently
- Natural degenerative changes associated with aging
- High-risk athletic activities and intensive training for football, basketball, volleyball, ice hockey, tennis, and other sports
- Sports-related knee injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury
Our meniscus tear physical therapy sessions begin with an initial assessment to discuss your medical history and current symptoms. Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough physical exam to check for tenderness and knee pain in the affected area. This allows them to identify the location of your meniscus tear accurately.
Moreover, you might have to perform a few physical activities (i.e. climbing stairs, walking, and running). Our experienced physical therapists use these tests to observe pain patterns and note how the knee injury affects your range of motion.
Our physical therapists are trained to identify your specific condition and prescribe individualized meniscus tear physical therapy plans to facilitate recovery.
Our physical therapists develop a coordinated rehabilitation program based and homecare exercises. These include muscle strengthening exercises, stretching, and hamstring exercises, amongst others. Manual therapy, joint mobilization, strength training, and balance/agility exercises further promote an optimal range of motion and flexibility.
More importantly, we aim to improve bone strength and endurance in the injured knee to mitigate the risk of recurring knee pain and potential degeneration. Athletes receive specialized instructions to accelerate the healing process and support a focused transition toward regular training.
Our careful and well-integrated physical therapy plans reduce knee joint pain and restore knee health. Consequently, these health benefits enable you to return to routine activities that might have become challenging due to the meniscus injury.
Contact us or call 201-773-8851 for further inquiries concerning our meniscus tear physical therapy.