What is a meniscal injury?
There are 2 menisci in the knee, medial and lateral, which are additional pieces of cartilage that give your knee added cushion. The meniscus can be injured in sports requiring change of direction eg. Soccer and basketball. Sometimes they can be damaged by wear and tear over time. Pain is mostly aggravated by rotation of the knee and squatting. Normally there is some swelling of the knee and tenderness around the knee joint. Patients may notice increased clicking/clunking of their knee and the knee may lock if there is an unstable tear of the meniscus. Your Physiotherapist will be able to assess whether you potentially have a meniscal tear. If this is suspected then a scan may be required to confirm this.
How is it treated?
Depending on the severity of the injury, meniscal tears can be managed conservatively or surgically. After assessing your knee, your physio can advise you of the most appropriate course of treatment.
Physiotherapy treatment initially includes reduction of pain and inflammation, and soft tissue release to help increase movement. A rehabilitation programme typically includes exercises aimed at strengthening quads, hamstring and gluts, balance exercises and a gradual reintroduction to dynamic strengthening and agility.
Knee surgery to repair/remove a torn meniscus is done arthroscopically and post-surgical treatment protocol is normally quite similar to conservative treatment.
How long does it take to get better?
This will depend on the type of tear in your meniscus as well as the size. Some tears respond well to conservative management, whereas some do not. Sometimes they can take between 6 and 12 weeks to become comfortable and stable. It is always preferable to undergo a period of rehabilitative exercises before opting for surgery, so Physiotherapy is always the best place to start.
If you are struggling with a meniscal tear or would like a post-surgical exercise programme, contact Ergoworks Physiotherapy.