Meniscal knee injuries
What is meniscus?
There are two menisci in each knee joint – one that is lateral (on the outside) and one that is medial (towards the midline). Meniscus are collagen structures that sit inside the knee joint and attach to the tibia via the joint capsule. They act as shock absorbing pads in the knee during weight bearing activities.
Meniscus play an important role in:
- shock absorption through the knee,
- stabilisation of the knee and
- lubrication and nutrition of the knee joint.
The medial meniscus is more c-shaped than the lateral and it’s attachment to the medial joint capsule decreases it’s mobility - as a result it is more often injured.
What causes meniscal injuries?
Meniscal injuries can happen suddenly or may occur progressively. Sudden injuries are more common in young people, whilst progressive injuries happen over time in older athletes.
Sudden/acute meniscal injuries occur when the knee is bent and compressed (with weightbearing) and the thigh bone is rotated, which exceeds the meniscus’ ability to resist the forces.
Gradual injuries may occur due to incorrect biomechanics which can mean the load from the body is sent down to the knee and rotated, creating small micro-trauma in the meniscus over time.
What should I look out for?
Signs and symptoms of meniscal injuries include (but are not limited to):
- Clicking, locking or clunking of the knee joint
- Pain may increase gradually during activities such as running or there may have been a sudden twisting injury with the foot anchored on the ground
- Knee pain with twisting activities, such as getting out of the car, pivoting during sport or during squatting
- Tenderness when touching the knee
- Depending on the size of the injury there may be a delayed swelling response – swelling usually occurs 6 to 12 hours post injury
What can I do if I suspect I have a meniscal injury?
Come in to see your physiotherapist at Club Physiotherapy for a thorough evaluation to confirm whether or not you do have meniscal signs and symptoms. Once confirmed by your physiotherapist, they can help to provide treatment and strategies to help reduce the pain and impact on your lifestyle. Whilst Physiotherapy cannot help the meniscus directly, your Physiotherapist can discuss different ways to manage your loading, offer hands on advice to improve your biomechanics and use manual techniques to strengthen or release tissues that may be contributing to the pain. With effective load management and treatment, the majority of meniscal injuries will have 100% recovery. See your physiotherapist today to help optimise the healing process and get you back to doing what you love pain free!
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