As an athlete, the worst feeling is not being able to participate in sports activities because of joint pain. If you just recently twisted or rotated your knee too suddenly, your meniscus could be torn resulting in your knee pain. A torn meniscus is not limited to athletes, anyone can have them. If you’re experiencing pain in your knee, accompanied by stiffness and locking, contact a therapist right away. Leaving it untreated can result in further complications such as arthritis. At Polygon PT, a therapist will evaluate your knee, and create a treatment plan. You will be back on your feet in no time.
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What is a Meniscus Tear?
Your knee joint is a tough very joint. Not only does it support your weight, but it also helps to make movement possible. But notwithstanding its toughness, the knee joint is not the most flexible, and a little wrong move like rotating your knee too sudden and forcefully can lead lead to a torn meniscus. Your knee joint is made up of three bones; the thigh bone, the shinbone, and the kneecap (patella). C-shaped cartilage (meniscus) acts as a shock absorber and gives your knee stability. This cartilage is found in each of your knees, between the thighbone and shinbone, and provides cushioning for both bones. A torn meniscus occurs when there is an injury to the cartilage resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness. Meniscus tears are one of the most common forms of knee injuries and can happen at the same time with an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tear.
Risk Factors for Meniscus Tears
Anyone regardless of age or activity can have a torn meniscus. However, persons engaged in sports or activities that require a lot of knee bending, squatting, and other forms of knee movement are more prone. Contact sport like football, basketball, or soccer, or non-contact sports like volleyball are examples. Age is can also be a risk factor for meniscus tears. As we grow older, our tissues begin to wear out. Wearing out of the meniscus can make it prone to tearing easily. Getting up from a chair with a wrong twist to the knee can cause torn meniscus.
Symptoms of Meniscus Tears
At the time of the injury, you might feel a pop or snap in your knee. Most athletes are still able to play with the knee for a couple of days before the pain gets worse, and the knee becomes stiff and swollen.
Pain in the knee
Swelling and stiffness
Difficulty in straightening or bending the knee
Catching or locking of the knee. In some cases, a piece of torn cartilage might get caught in the knee joint.
Feeling of the knee “giving way”
Meniscus Tear Diagnosis
It is tempting to ignore the pain in the beginning stages and show how tough you are by playing with it. However, this can have long-term consequences. Once the pain worsens, it will limit your ability to participate in sports and can cause knee arthritis. It is important to get diagnosed at the onset, so treatment can begin. At Polygon PT, a physical therapist will discuss your symptoms and medical history with you. After which your knee will be examined. Your therapist will bend your knee, straighten and rotate it. If you have a meniscus tear, this will put pressure on it, causing pain and a clicking sound in the joint. Imaging tests such as Xray or an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan might also be used by your doctor to rule out other conditions, and determine the extent of the tear.
Treatment for Torn Meniscus
Often, meniscus tears can be treated without surgery. Your physical therapist will create a treatment plan to relieve the pain, prevent stiffness, and restore full motion to the knee. Like for most sports-related injuries, your therapist will prescribe R.I.C.E. This stands for:
Therapeutic exercises such as motion and strengthening exercises are also prescribed to restore strength and flexibility to the knee. Manual therapy, assistive devices (canes or crutches), as well as electrical stimulation, can also be used. If surgery is needed, in cases where the tear cannot heal on its own, your therapist will prepare for surgery, and recovery after surgery through rehabilitation.
Get Started With Physical Therapy for Meniscus Tears Today
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of a torn meniscus, it is important to see a therapist right away. We can’t wait to get you back to your normal life, and participating in sports activities. Request an appointment with a therapist immediately.