A Meniscus tear describes a tear in the shock-absorbing cartilage (meniscus) of the knee. The meniscus is a C-shaped fibrous piece of cartilage, which is found in certain joints and forms a buffer between the bones to protect the joint surface. The meniscus also serves as a shock-absorption system, assists in lubricating the joint, and limits the joint flexion and extension. Unlike other tissues it does not have its own blood supply which can affect its ability to heal.
A twisting mechanism or over-flexing the joint most commonly causes Meniscal tears. It is a common injury in sports that require rapid, forceful changes of direction (i.e.: football, basketball etc). Commonly swelling in and around the knee joint starts to accumulate between 2-6 hours post injury.
Walking, squatting, and twisting motions can all be painful. If the meniscal damage is severe, a piece of cartilage may have broken off and have become loose. This can cause a feeling of joint ‘locking’ or catching.
The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and protect the joint from further injury while it heals. Initial management will include the POLICE protocol – protect, Optimal loading, ice, compression and elevation. It is important that this is done correctly and our Physiotherapists can advise you on this. This is aimed at reducing the bleeding and secondary tissue damage.
Depending on the severity of injury crutches may be needed in the initial stages. Your physiotherapist will give you drills to restore normal range of motion, strength and proprioception around the knee. A progressive exercise programme will be put in place to help return you to your work or sporting endeavours.
Your GP may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Our Chartered Physiotherapists have an extensive range of experience in treating patients with meniscal damage for both pre- and post-operative stages of rehab.
Physiotherapy treatments are often provided after the surgery in order to help decrease stiffness and pain and assist in returning the individual to complete independence and a more active lifestyle. It is important that you complete a course of physiotherapy following surgery to maximise your recovery.
Our highly skilled Physiotherapists can diagnose meniscal tears through a variety of tests.