A meniscus tear is a common knee injury that often affects people who play contact sports. It can also be caused by wear and tear and doing everyday activities that put pressure on the knee joint, such as squatting to pick something up or getting in and out of a car and the injury occurs when a person tears the protective cartilage in the knee. A meniscus tear isn’t always painful, but it can cause swelling and instability in the knee. The knee may lock, and you may have trouble moving it. A meniscal tear is especially common among people with arthritis and older athletes, since the meniscus in the knee weakens with age. Due to degeneration of tissue, cartilage wears thin over time, making it more prone to tears. A torn meniscus is a common injury, often due to twisting or rotating the knee aggressively that causes certain tissue in the knee to tear.
Types of Tear
In general, there are three different levels of meniscus tear
Mild: Minor pain and/or swelling. Symptoms may disappear after two or three weeks.
Moderate: There is a pain on one side of the knee. Swelling appears and can worsen over time. Pressure or knee stiffness is common. feeling of sharp pain with certain movements like squatting or twisting. Symptoms may disappear after a few weeks but can linger on and off until treatment is been done.
Severe: Torn pieces of the meniscus can get stuck in knee joint. This may cause knee to lock or pop. There might be a feeling of joint instability, or knee can even collapse without warning too.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear
Pain in the knee
A popping sensation during the injury
Difficulty bending and straightening the leg
A tendency for your knee to get “stuck” or lock up
How does the Physiotherapist Diagnose the injury?
To diagnose a meniscus tear, thorough physical examination is needed. X-rays may be necessary, to rule out broken bones and other problems. The MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, which allows a more detailed evaluation of knee cartilage, is needed to confirm the injury. The physiotherapist might do Various tests such as McMurray Test, Medial joint line compression or Valgus test to diagnose the injury.
Immediately After Injury, the first thing should be done is too put ice for about 20 minutes on it and elevate the knee every 4-6 weeks for 24hours. But, don’t apply ice directly to the skin. Instead, wrap a damp towel around the knee then put a bag of ice on the towel. This drops the temperature of the knee without the risk of damaging the skin.
How does Physiotherapy help in Medial mensicus injury
After a diagnosis of a meniscus tear, the physiotherapy could be prescribed in mild to moderate level as the severe stage surgical intervention should be recommended. The goal of physiotherapy at Curezone Physiotherapy clinic is to restore as much function as possible with the minimal amount of pain. Once the initial evaluation is completed, our physiotherapist will plan a rehabilitation (rehab) program based on your assessment that helps you regain as much strength and flexibility in your knee as possible. Treatment may be started during the first session. Your rehab program probably will include physiotherapy and home exercises.
Some modalities used in meniscus tear rehabilitation include:
Heat and/or ice
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) — gently stimulates muscles to strengthen them.
A typical course of physiotherapy for knee pain caused by a meniscus tear lasts about 4 to 6 weeks. You can expect to achieve full knee ROM and strength and regain pain free functional mobility. Remember that everyone and every injury is different, and your course of PT may be shorter or longer.
Manual Therapy such as Hawk or Garston Technique.
Soft tissue release or mobilization of the knee joint to improve mobility and flexibility of the knee joint.
Acupuncture can also be done to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.
K-taping is also done to provide stability to the joint.
Quadriceps Muscle strengthening exercises
Knee Range of Motion Exercises
Straight Leg Raises
Balance and Proprioception physiotherapy
Our physiotherapists at Curezone physiotherapy Mississauga are one of the best and experienced in treating meniscal tears of the knee. To get started, call us at 905 997 4333