Knee meniscus injuries and treatment in Newcastle
The meniscus is a fibrocatilaginous structure that sits in between the bones of the knee to provide some cushioning and aid in the smooth movement of the joint.
In a younger population meniscal damage is usually torn traumatically by twisting on a slightly flexed knee.
Meniscal irritation may occur as the result of a more minor incident and have milder symptoms. In older adults the tear may be the result of natural age related degeneration of the meniscus or may be the result of an arthritic joint surface rubbing on and damaging the softer meniscus.
Blood supply to the meniscus and therefore its ability to heal varies depending on the region. The red zone on the outside of the meniscus has a blood supply from the joint capsule and may heal without surgery. The white zone does not usually heal due to a lack of blood supply.
Symptoms of Meniscal Injuries
The symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the injury. Symptoms may include;
Pain along knee joint
Pain when squatting
Clicking or popping sound
Physiotherapy Treatment for Meniscal Injuries
Small meniscus tears or tears in the red zone respond well to physiotherapy treatment.
There is good evidence now in the research to indicate that an active based physiotherapy program combined with weight loss is the most effective strategy to recover from a mensical injury.
Qoute from a 2016 study. Click here for the full study
"The observed difference in treatment effect was minute after two years of follow-up, and the trial’s inferential uncertainty was sufficiently small to exclude clinically relevant differences. Exercise therapy showed positive effects over surgery in improving thigh muscle strength, at least in the short term. Our results should encourage clinicians and middle aged patients with degenerative meniscal tear and no definitive radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis to consider supervised exercise therapy as a treatment option"
Physiotherapy will aim to;
Reduce pain and inflammation
Normalise joint range of motion
Normalise muscle length
Strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee. This is particularly important as a role of your meniscus is shock absorption, by strengthening the surrounding muscles the muscles absorb some of the shock and the load through your joint and meniscus decreases
Improve patellofemoral (kneecap) alignment
Improve balance and proprioception
Functional training and return to sport
Minimise the chance of re-injury
Surgery for meniscal injuries
Most surgeons will recommend an initial period of conservative physiotherapy management. Depending on the severity of the injury and your response to conservative therapy surgery may be considered. Surgery is performed arthroscopically and either removes or repairs the torn fragment of the meniscus. Post-operative physiotherapy will be required.
At Fitness Physiotherapy in Newcastle, we treat meniscal injuries with evidenced based treatments for pain relief and return to sport and play .