Have sharp or consistent pain in the knee area? You may have a torn meniscus and be a candidate for physical therapy.
A meniscus tear is a common type of knee injury.
This part of knee is a disc shaped rubbery layer that cushions your knee. Each knee in our body includes two menisci present near the outer and inner edge on the knee.
Because of this cushion-like rubber disc, our knees are able to maintain balance and bear the overall body weight. When a meniscus is torn, it can be difficult for a person to balance his or her weight and walk steadily.
Primary Causes of a Meniscus Tear
When there is a sudden strain or twist on the knee, there is a chance of a meniscus tear. You can injure your menisci when you suddenly lift something very heavy. The injury can also occur while playing sports or during outdoor recreation such as skiing. A person with weak knees has a higher chance of tearing their meniscus. Therefore, older people have a tendency to get meniscus injuries more easily.
The pain caused due to a meniscus tear can be very sharp and intense or dull. While some people claim constant dull ache, many get a deep and sharp sensation while moving and bending their knee. The pain can be very intense when you bend your knee, kneel, or begin to lock and squat on the floor. You may hear a pop sound when bend or move your knees. Sometimes, it literally gets stuck too. Such pains are called posterior lateral knee pain.
Sign of a torn meniscus:
- Minor pain and swelling accompanied by mild to severe pain.
- If there is a moderate tear, you may have lateral knee pain with severe swelling.
- If the injury is severe, the symptoms may include sharp pain and inflammation. In such cases, torn pieces of the meniscus may move to the joint space causing a pop sound during knee lock. Straightening or bending knee can be very difficult if you have a severe meniscus injury.
- The symptoms of worn meniscus are slightly different from a tear. However, patients with a worn meniscus are more likely to experience pain and slight swelling in addition to knee popping and swelling.
Physical Therapies for Meniscus Tear
A meniscus tear doesn’t always require surgery. Many of the symptoms can be effectively treated with physical therapies. In fact, a lot of physicians prescribe undergoing physical therapy treatment as a first line of treatment.
In addition to physical therapy, massage treatment can also help manage swelling, reduce pain and improve the knee mobility. Physical therapists may also use a neuromuscular electrical stimulation to improve your strength and perform special exercises to manage pain.
Remember to check with your doctor if you have constant localized pain in the side, back and outer area of the knee. Find the right medical provider who has specialized in pain management and knee injury to get the effective treatment plan for your problem. You’re also welcome to schedule an appointment at TurningPoint Medical Group for a free evaluation. We first help you determine if you indeed have a meniscus tear or not. We then make sure you get the proper medical plan for recovery.
This article was originally published December 14, 2016 and recently updated.