There are two menisci in our knee, and they are rings of cartilage that act as stabilisers and shock absorbers. If they are injured then you will feel pain, your knee may be swollen, there may be some noise or clicking in your knee, and you can lose some range of movement. In some cases you might feel that your knee gives way and you lose confidence taking weight on it.
Meniscus injuries can be very frustrating because they often have a big impact on common activities like sitting, walking, going up and down stairs, driving and squatting. And of course they also stop us playing sport or exercising.
Your knee meniscus can be damaged during an acute injury like a pivoting or twisting motion when playing sport, or from age-related wear and tear. Meniscus injuries are typically aggravated by twisting or pivoting movements, or by end-range movements like trying to squat or get in and out of a car. As well as pain you also may feel clicking or locking in the joint.
Meniscal injuries can really disrupt the mechanics of your knee and limit your sport and leisure activity.and Because they change your knee mechanics they can also increase your risk of further injury, so it’s important to get your knee assessed and treated properly, including rebuilding your full strength and control.
Physiotherapy is the first-line treatment for knee pain due to meniscal injuries. Research clearly shows that effective physio management, including a comprehensive strength program, provides great outcomes for the vast majority of meniscal injuries. Surgery only needs to be considered in severe cases where the knee is ‘locked’ into position, or when a comprehensive physio program has not fully relieved the symptoms.
In your initial assessment, a detailed history and physical assessment is completed to clarify your diagnosis. This includes an examination to identify painful or restricted movements plus specific meniscus testing to pinpoint the cause of your pain. Your physio will also complete a thorough strength assessment to identify any weakness that may be contributing to your knee pain. They will also spend time talking to you about your goals for leisure, sport and exercise.
During your assessment your physiotherapist will clearly explain the results and work with you to build a plan that works towards your specific goals. This can be as simple as reducing or eliminating pain and restoring function, or more high-performance goals such as returning to competitive sport. andIn the unlikely event that there is a severe meniscus tear with joint locking, your physiotherapist will refer you to a specialist.
Your treatment is tailored specifically for you and is based on your personal goals, the exact nature and degree of your meniscus injury, plus any relevant history or other injuries. Your physiotherapist will use the most effective combination of treatment techniques for you, often including;
All of our physiotherapists at Central Performance are very experienced in treating knee meniscus injuries, whether from a sports injury or age-related wear and tear. Your physiotherapist may also recommend that you see an exercise physiologist during the later stages of your treatment program, especially if you have had previous injuries, significant muscle wekaness or want to return to competitive sport and exercise.