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All About a Meniscus Tear

Meniscus Tear – The Basics 

A meniscus is the cartilage that is found in the knee joint that sits between the bones of the leg known as the femur and tibia. Think of 2 pads that cushion the inner and outer aspects of your knee. It functions to absorb shock, distribute the load of forces in the knee and to keep the joint lubricated by moving around fluids. 

A meniscus tear can frequently occur with twisting or turning activities often when the foot is planted. In younger people they can commonly occur with sports or heavy lifting activities. However as we age how it’s torn may not be known due to degenerative factors. Our basic “wear and tear”. 

Initially you may have mild swelling and joint pain however you will still be able to walk. As time goes on there may be no symptoms at all. In fact some individuals have meniscus tears without even knowing it. Depending on location and severity of the tear there may be other symptoms in addition to pain and swelling including: catching or clicking when walking, inability to bend or extend knee and buckling or feelings of instability. 

How Can Physical Therapy Help??? 

Whether you opt for surgery or not, physical therapy is vital to getting you back on your feet and back to the activities you enjoy. The treatment for post surgery and non- surgical patients is in fact very much the same. We will address mobility or range of motion, strength and stability. It is best to start a program slowly working on non-weight bearing muscle isolation exercise before progressing into more advanced functional weight bearing exercises like squats. 

****Non-surgical treatments are nearly always the ideal choice for treating meniscus tears especially those that occur as a result of degenerative changes. This is because studies have found that long-term results are not improved with surgery. Those study participants have had an improvement in leg and hip muscle strength. It has also been shown that many individuals have been able to forego surgery all together following a course of physical therapy.*** 

If you suspect or know that you have a meniscus tear let one of our skilled clinicians at Loudoun Sports Therapy evaluate you today and get you started on a program designed for you! Give us a call at 703-450-4300 to schedule your evaluation! 

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