Of the most common knee-related injuries (ACL, MCL, PCL), tearing a meniscus is often seen as one that occurs year after year for athletes of all shapes and sizes. In almost all cases, physical therapy for a torn meniscus will play a vital role in the recovery process.
What is the meniscus?
The meniscus is located within the knee and it’s a critical structure that provides cushioning between the femur and the tibia. Within each knee, therein lies two different forms of menisci, the medial (inside) and lateral (outside). The primary purpose of these menisci is to act as a shock absorber for hard blows to the knee, whether that be from landing awkwardly or making sharp cuts. The structure gives off a customary “C” shape and they look similar to suction cups.
What is the functionality of the meniscus?
Primarily, the overall goal of the meniscus is to help prevent stress from building up on your knees. This stress increases adamantly if you’re engaging in sport-related activities such as running and jumping. The protective cushioning that the meniscus provides is able to provide protection against the grinding between the femur and tibia, thus allowing you to feel more comfortable. Our menisci are almost “customized” – meaning that they fit perfectly with the anatomy of our knees. This helps us to prevent pressure from building up and having calamitous effects.
What is a meniscus tear?
In the most common instances, a torn meniscus occurs due to an unorthodox style of bending/twisting. This can be caused due to a large number of stimulants, such as jumping and landing awkwardly. Ordinarily, we see this injury pop up frequently in basketball players due to the nature of the sport. For most ballplayers, they’re not thinking about the landing when they’re up in the air trying to snag a rebound. Putting all of your weight into the landing is typically the primary culprit in what will lead to the tearing of the meniscus.
Physical Therapy For Torn Meniscus
At Block Sports Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, one of the most common injuries that we treat at our Smithtown & Selden facilities is the torn meniscus. Physical Therapy for a torn meniscus can be crucial in order to maintain a strong recovery process. This is the case for patients who are recovering from surgery and for patients who are attempting to rehabilitate the injury without surgery.
Your meniscus is composed of crescent-shaped structures that allow your knees to absorb any shocks that are incurred. It also allows for proper knee function when comes to bending or straightening it. There are a few different ways you can injure it, including the following:
- Trauma from twisting your knee
- Degenerative conditions
- I.e. Osteoarthritis
- Wear and tear
Before you can rehab the injury, you will need to be evaluated to determine if you actually tore your meniscus. If you have torn it, a doctor will determine how severe of a tear it is and whether or not you will need surgery. The healing process of a minor meniscus tear could take anywhere from 2-3 weeks. The goal is for you to regain full range of motion in your knee and to regain back the original strength in your injured knee. You will have to be able to run again a full speed and will be required to perform an unassisted squat to determine that the injury is fully healed. Obtaining this goal has a higher success rate if you properly rehabilitate this injury.
What can Physical Therapy For A Torn Meniscus do to help your recovery process?
If you don’t need surgery, you initially will be told to rest, ice and elevate the injury. You will then be recommended to do a routine course of exercises to help rehab the injury. After that our physical therapist could recommend some of the following exercises so that you and work on rehabbing the injury at home:
- Heel Slide
- Straight leg raises
- Standing Calf Stretch
- Wall squat with a Ball
- Hamstring Stretch on a Wall
- Restrained Knee Extensions
- Knee Stabilization
- Stepping Exercises
If you have recently injured your meniscus and are looking for Physical For Torn Meniscus, contact Block Sports Chiropractic and Physical Therapy!