Torn Meniscus: One Of The Most Common Knee Injury
March 30, 2021
Knee pain is a common complaint today in the medical industry, and there are many different types. Sometimes the pain can be traced back to a single event, and other times a long history of wear and tear. But the most common type of knee pain involves the meniscus.
Meniscal tears can happen to anyone. You don’t have to be an athlete or even an active person to sustain a knee injury. For every kilogram you weigh, the knee absorbs about 2.5 kg of stress. So if you gain 5 kg, that’s a lot of extra wear and tear on your knee cartilage! Even kneeling down and squatting can injure your meniscus.
There are all kinds of causes for meniscal tears, and treatment varies considerably on a case-by-case basis. Surgery is not always required, but maybe if the tear is severe enough.
We here at Simple Therapy want to dive into some of the common causes of a torn meniscus to help you understand how they happen and what you can do to prevent them.
Torn Meniscus Causes & Symptoms
Trying to do too much too fast is a good way to tear your meniscus. For gym-goers, it may be doing too many squats or other knee exercises in one day. For soccer players, it could be playing a game without prior training exercises. For cross country runners, it could be running longer distances than your knees are ready for. Whatever sport or activity you’re involved in, it’s important to ease your way into it. The body is a great performer, but it takes time to adjust.
An inevitable side-effect of aging is the wearing down of cartilage. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion between the femur and tibia and grows weaker and thinner as time goes by. It can tear subtly and the symptoms can be so mild that you may not realize that something is wrong.
Research has shown that strengthening the muscles in your legs helps reduce knee pain that stems from normal wear and tear of the knee [source]. Doing at-home exercises for knee pain is a great way to find relief from knee pain.
This type of injury occurs often in sports when an athlete has squatted down and rotated, twisted, or compressed the knee awkwardly. It may not take a lot to initiate a meniscal tear, so no sport is without risk. Once the meniscus has been injured, it’s critical to stay off of it and let it heal before resuming an active lifestyle. Ignoring a meniscal tear will only cause it to worsen and can lead to other injuries later on. An injured meniscus changes from a shock-absorbing cushion to an inflamed, painful sore spot. Additionally, it may cause your knee to become unstable making it more likely that you’ll tear a ligament.
Common symptoms include:
- Knee feels locked up
- Sharp pain while twisting knee or squatting
- Increased instability
- Loss of full range of motion
Whether the cause is known or unknown to you, if you experience any swelling or pain in your knee then you should have it immediately evaluated by a physician. A torn meniscus, if caught early enough, can be treated without surgery.
Simple Therapy is an exercise therapy company that specializes in home-based exercise programs for common joint aches and pains. The above image is not our own.
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