Were you playing or dancing and twisted you knee? Does it hurt you when you put weight on it? It can be A MENISCAL INJURY!
Sports people often come with symptoms that, they can’t bend their knee, or something is popping out. After discussing your symptoms and history, your doctor will examine your knee. He or she will check for tenderness along the joint line where the meniscus sits. This often signals a tear.
So, what is meniscal tear????
Three bones meet to form your knee joint: your thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella). Two wedge-shaped pieces ofcartilage act as “shock absorbers” between your thighbone and shinbone. These are called meniscus. They are tough and rubbery to help cushion the joint and keep it stable.
Is all meniscus tear the same???
Menisci tear are in different ways. Tears are noted by how they look, as well as where the tear occurs in the meniscus. Common tears include bucket handle, flap, and radial. Sports-related meniscus tears often occur along with other knee injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament tears.
Is it a sports injury???
No, Sudden meniscus tears often happen during sports. Players may squat and twist the knee, causing a tear. Direct contact, like a tackle, is sometimes involved. Older people are more likely to have degenerative meniscus tears. Cartilage weakens and wears thin over time. Aged, worn tissue is more prone to tears. Just an awkward twist when getting up from a chair may be enough to cause a tear, if the menisci have weakened with age.
How can I confirm whether it is a meniscus injury or anything other?
You might feel a “pop” when you tear a meniscus. Most people can still walk on their injured knee. Many athletes keep playing with a tear. Over 2 to 3 days, your knee will gradually become stiffer and more swollen. The most common symptoms of meniscus tear are:
- Stiffness and swelling
- Catching or locking of your knee
- The sensation of your knee “giving way”
- You are not able to move your knee through its full range of motion
Without treatment, a piece of meniscus may come loose and drift into the joint. This can cause your knee to slip, pop, or lock.
One of the main tests for meniscus tears is the McMurray test. Your doctor will bend your knee, then straighten and rotate it. This puts tension on a torn meniscus. If you have a meniscus tear, this movement will cause a clicking sound. Your knee will click each time your doctor does the test.
Because other knee problems cause similar symptoms, your doctor may order imaging tests to help confirm the diagnosis.
Although x-rays do not show meniscus tears, they may show other causes of knee pain, such as osteoarthritis.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
This study can create better images of the soft tissues of your knee joint, like a meniscus.
Initially, you should treat the knee injury with conservative techniques that include rest, ice, compression, and elevation, or the RICE method:
- Rest your knee. Use crutches to avoid any weight bearing on the joint. Avoid any activities that worsen your knee pain.
- Ice your knee every three to four hours for 30 minutes.
- Compress or wrap the knee in an elastic bandage to reduce inflammation.
- Elevate your knee to reduce swelling.
You shouldn’t put your full weight on your injured knee if it’s painful. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee.
Physical therapy can help reduce pain and increase your knee mobility and stability.
There are various advanced techniques available these days which gives a better and complete recovery from the ailment. As compared to with the conventional and traditional treatments which are available with most of the therapist, these new techniques give the best results in the long run.
In these treatments, we work on the muscles and fascia. Basically, whenever there is pain, inflammation, injury, postural imbalance, due to overstretching or over-contraction etc. result in taught band formation known as trigger points. These points are basically reducing the length of the muscle which impairs the joint function and ROM. Every muscle has a trigger point patter. We are working on the faulty biomechanics by releasing these trigger points. Releasing the trigger points results restoring the normal biomechanics, with normal ROM and joint function.
These techniques include:
- Soft tissue release: This helps in restoring the length of the muscle, by releasing the trigger points with various techniques like myofascial release, IASTM, Ischemic compression, Active release technique, passive release technique, Positional release technique and muscle energy technique.
- Dry Needling: In this technique, we insert thin filament needles in the trigger points of the muscles to break them resulting in muscle relaxation, only after having a thorough knowledge of anatomical structures.
- Deep tissue Release: there are many advanced techniques, which includes massage strokes, and are modifies to address specific conditions like cramps, strains, light, muscular and joint stiffness or breakdown of adhesions and bad scars. This stand alone in the form of tissue treatment, if therapist wants to target deeper muscles or to increase range of motion at any joint using basic but very specific techniques of compression and stretching of the muscles. This is applied by the therapist to treat patients.
- Joint mobilizations: These techniques help in restoring the normal joint ROM by giving graded oscillations to the joints. We use the latest 3-d mobilization technique known as KKMT which gives very fast results to restore the movement by correcting the altered biomechanics.
- Lymphatic Drainage: Our body tends to accumulate extracellular fluid, in cause tissue trauma and lymphoedema is a common condition when the lymph nodes are excised due to which the lymphatic fluid accumulates. This can be drained by lymphatic drainage to release the pressure in the tissues and also helps in increasing the blood circulation.
- Taping: We use various tapes and techniques to apply it. We use Kinesio tape, rigid tape, semi- elastic etc. Taping helps in restoring the function of the muscle, supporting the structure involved, and restricting the joint or the muscle movement.
If your knee isn’t responding to the treatments above, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery. You can prevent surgery by visiting Pain Free Zone, Delhi.
Dr. Hinosh Joseph
Physiotherapist at Pain Free Zone, Delhi