Meniscal tears are a fairly common injury that affects the cartilage in the knee. The knee is one of the most mobile joints in the human musculoskeletal system, and handles tons and tons of pressure across a lifetime. As you could imagine, the knee is extremely prone to injury. Knee pain and injury from a torn meniscus is common among athletes, but also for those who enjoy being active in recreational activities. It can also develop over time from normal wear and tear, aging, or having an underlying condition such as osteoarthritis, which commonly affects the knees.
What is a Meniscal Tear?
As mentioned before, what makes knee injuries complicated is that they could be caused by stress or damage to any of these parts. The knee sits in the middle of three bones: the tibia (your shinbone), the femur (your thighbone), and the patella (the kneecap), which protects the knee.
The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped disc that cushions your knee from impact. Without the meniscus, your knee would experience painful bone-on-bone friction with every movement. Each knee has two menisci, one at the outer edge of the knee and one at the inner edge. The meniscus helps keep your knee steady by balancing your weight across the knee. If the meniscus tears, it can prevent your knee from functioning properly.
When the meniscus tears, someone will generally experience a pop or sharp intense pain throughout the knee area. During examination of your knee after your injury, your doctor will see if there is any swelling, your level of mobility and function, and may call for diagnostic imaging. If it turns out that your diagnosis is a meniscal tear, depending on the severity, the doctor will often prescribe physical therapy first, and turn to surgery as a last resort.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Rehabilitation is a crucial part of anyone’s recovery process, and can really help restore function and mobility, and most importantly, give someone their life back. Through a customized treatment plan with a series of exercises and strengthening techniques, the physical therapists at Endeavor Rehab Center can help patients heal from their injury and restore full muscle strength and movement. As all the parts of your knee work together as a shock absorber and stabilizer for this joint, your PT can also help control pain and swelling in the area. Based on your goals, your physical therapist will keep modifying your treatment program or activity level to help you improve every day, and ensure you have the most effective recovery. In other words, as you recover, you will be advised on ways to improve and maintain your fitness and activity levels, and the therapist will help you decide when you are ready to return to full activity, and get you back to peak operating condition.
If patients don’t respond well to their physical therapy and are in fact in need of surgical intervention, your physical therapist will work with your doctor every step of the way. This collaboration will maximize your recovery and prevent re-injury.
To learn more about how physical therapy can help you heal from a meniscal tear, call Endeavor Rehab Center at (512)-284-7192 or request an appointment online.