Knee Meniscus Cartilage Injury

Knee Meniscus Cartilage Injury

Are you suffering from a Knee Meniscus Cartilage Injury?

The meniscus lie between the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). It attaches to the bone and capsule. It has two parts anatomically; the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus. It is a common injury in those who play sport and also the sedentary population.

Broadly speaking there are two types of Meniscal Injury; a traumatic or atraumatic injury.

Traumatic Meniscal Injury

This type of meniscal injury can occur if there is a twitsing injury to the knee when running or changing direction. If the forces are large enough it can create a tear in the meniscus.

Symptoms of a Traumatic Meniscal Injury include a twisting action, swelling, clicking of the knee, locking of the knee, giving way of the knee or pain on moving the knee.

A thorough History and Physical Examination by your Chartered Physiotherapist will determine the likelihood of a Meniscal Tear. If the examination shows an obvious Meniscal injury then a series of basic exercises and advice will be prescribed. A MRI Scan may well be organised to confirm the injury.

There are two options with a Traumatic Meniscal Injury: a conservative or surgical approach.

The conservative approach includes exercise rehabilitation and careful management of load. If the tear to the meniscus is small then some people can manage well and make a return to their chosen sport if they rehab correctly.

The surgical approach would involve a consultation with an Orthopaedic Surgeon with a special interest in Meniscal Injuries. Depending on the extent of the injury they will repair the meniscus, a procedure where they stitch the tear in the meniscus back together or perform a menisectomey, a procedure where they remove the injured part of the meniscus. Injection Therapy may also be considered before surgery.

Following the surgical procedure a protocol of rehabilitation exercises needs to be closely followed to give the best outcome.

Atraumatic Meniscal Injury

This type of meniscal injury usually occurs over time. There is no large twisting incident or any movement that stands out as a cause of the injury. It typically occurs in the older population. It is a degenerative (‘wear and tear’) process.

Symptoms of an atraumatic meniscal injury include a gradual onset, swelling, pain on moving the knee, clicking, locking or giving way of the knee.

A thorough History and Physical Examination by your Chartered Physiotherapist will determine the likelihood of a Degenerative Meniscal Tear. If the examination shows an obvious Meniscal injury then a series of basic exercises and advice will be prescribed. A MRI Scan may well be organised to confirm the injury.

Similar to the traumatic meniscal injury, there are two options. The conservative or surgical approach.

The conservative approach includes exercise rehabilitation and careful management of load. If the tear to the meniscus is small then some people can manage well and make a return to their chosen sport if they rehab correctly.

The surgical approach for Degenerative Meniscal tears is more limited. Typically, a repair of the torn meniscus will not be carried out as the meniscus around the tear is very weak because of the degenerative process. It would be like stitching tissue paper together, it will fail. The procedure of choice is a Menisectomey, a procedure where they remove the injured part of the meniscus.

Following the surgical procedure a protocol of rehabilitation exercises needs to be closely followed to give the best outcome.

MyPhysio’s thoughts on Knee Meniscus Cartilage Injury

In our experience, Atraumtaic or Degenerative Meniscal Tears respond well to a conservative approach of exercise rehabilitation. A well thought out rehab programme along with a good understanding of your pathology can allow you to return to a normal lifestyle. Many clients of MyPhysio have had Meniscal Injuries for years and mange just fine with exercise and careful management. A rehab programme lasting 12 weeks of progressive exercises is prescribed. If at any point the Meniscus continues to be aggravated even by the most basic movements then a consultation with an Orthopaedic Consultant would be discussed.

If you have any queries regarding Meniscal Injuries please ‘Ask the Expert’.