This term is derived from an injury done to the Knee Meniscus and is more commonly referred to as a ‘Meniscus tear.’ So, what is the knee Meniscus? It is a kidney shaped, fibrous cartilage wedge which separates your thigh bone, or ‘Femur’, from your shin bone or ‘Tibia.’ The knee absorbs great forces when we run and jump or even just walk, so the Meniscus is a type of ‘shock absorber’ which also assists in rotational stability due to the wedge-shape. The Meniscus helps to spread the compressive forces over the whole knee, which escalate as we go from walking to running to jumping.
What causes a ‘Meniscus tear?’
This injury is usually sports related, particularly in the case of younger people and happens when the knee Meniscus is compressed and sheared through the sharp twisting of a slightly bent knee. Another more chronic cause may be degeneration due to arthritis on the femoral aspect of the joint tearing into the meniscus over time.
What are the symptoms to watch out for?
The symptoms of a Meniscal knee injury may include:
What is my best course of action?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect a torn meniscus, remember that a Physiotherapist is best able to treat it and identify the presence of any other knee injuries commonly associated with Meniscal injuries and the compensations that follow, which need to be treated simultaneously. A small Meniscus tear responds quickly to physiotherapy treatment which also aims to: strengthen your thigh and leg; reduce bone stresses; reduce pain and inflammation and normalise joint motion, all while ensuring that your pelvis, lower back and knee on the other side aren’t taking strain. A normal recovery time for a Meniscal injury is 6 to 8 weeks and you may be required to stop certain activities and exercises, take weight off the knee with crutches, or in more severe cases even require an MRI scan and may be recommended for surgery. All people are different and once again your Physiotherapist will give you the best guidance for your particular situation. Even if your surgeon does feel that surgery may be needed, he or she will most likely recommend pre-operative physiotherapy to see if it can be avoided, so to save time and money contact us first and let’s see if we can have you back in action before any more drastic courses of action are suggested.
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