The menisci are important structures of the knee that play a major role in shock absorption and weight distribution. They are separated into outer (lateral) meniscus and inner (medial) meniscus, with the medial meniscus being more commonly injured due to its shape and attachments. A meniscal tear is a common injury that can occur due to trauma or age related degenerative changes, therefore, it is an injury that can affect patients of all ages.
The most common mechanism of a meniscus injury includes a combination of twisting motion through a partially bent knee that is bearing weight.
Risks Factors for Meniscus Injuries
- Age: Degenerative changes that happen as you age can wear down your meniscus
- Comorbidities: Having a background of osteoarthritis or deformities that impact on the biomechanics of the knee can increase the risk of meniscus tears. Furthermore, being overweight also increased to stress placed on knees.
- Athletes: The intensive training, high impact sports, and need to suddenly pivot/turn/change direction can increase the risk of a traumatic injury.
Meniscus tears can can be managed either conservatively (physiotherapy), or through surgical intervention. The management of tears can be dependent on factors such as: the type/severity/location of tear, your age, the surrounding structures impacted, and functional level. Please consult your doctor or physio about the best treatment option for you.
Physiotherapy for Meniscus Rehabilitation
Prior to commencing with physiotherapy, it can be important to completed a review with your doctor. It is important to get on top fo the pain and swelling first to allow for best participation in physiotherapy. Strategies that may be beneficial include rest, reducing the load you put through the knee with the use of a gait aid, and ice.
Physiotherapy will begin with a comprehensive assessment by one of our experienced physiotherapists. From here you will be provided with an individualised rehabilitation program that takes into consideration your symptoms, main limitations, and the goals you would like to achieve. Rehabilitation will involve a graduated plan that focuses on regaining your range of motion, stretches to improve flexibility, exercises to improve muscular strength and control, as well as, gait training.