Do you think your sore knee is due to Meniscus damage?
We hear this all the time. “I think my Meniscus is damaged, will I need surgery?”
Our response is uallually… “It sounds to me like you’re really concerned about surgery. You have had this pain for a while now and it’s causing stress and anxiety in your life. The thing is Menicus damage is quite common throughout our lifetime and majority of cases should not require surgery. What we can do is look at contributing factors which cause knee pain and see whether we can improve your function and reduce pain, does that sound ok to you?”
For the purpose of making this an education Blog let’s just run through some anatomy so you have a better understanding of what’s going on.
The ‘Knee Meniscus’ is a cartilage pad that sits on both the inner and outer edges of each knee. They act as cushions to help reduce friction and distribute load through the knee joint during movement. Because they function as joint stabilisers and shock absorbers to many of the forces that act on the knee, they can be quite susceptible to damage and injury.
In fact many people will have some degree of damage to their meniscus due to loading and stress over a lifetime (around 5% of all young individuals will have some form of meniscal tear and this increases to around 67% in the older population). However this damage does not always result in pain.
Pain does NOT always mean damage!
One study that looked at individuals with knee pain and suspected meniscal tears concluded that of the 100 people assessed 57 of them had meniscal tears in the leg that felt painful (Symptomatic) and of those 57, 36 also had meniscal tears in their opposite knee with no signs of pain or discomfort with movement (Asymptomatic). This means that meniscus damage DOES NOT always mean PAIN or loss of function.
So what can you do to reduce the pain you are experiencing?
Here are our 3 main tips to healthier knees
- Increase you pain free range through techniques such as foam rolling or manual therapy (Do not stop at step 1)
- Key areas to focus on strengthening initially are hip and knee quadriceps strength
- Purpose/goal driven exercise prescription. Which means complete exercises that are important to you and you life!
Listen to your own body and seek help from a health professional who will listen and understand what you are looking to achieve.
There are hundreds of exercises that you can do, but finding the ones which you enjoy and realte to your goals can be the challenge.
So ask for help when you feel you need it!
If you answer YES to one of the following questions:
- Does your knee give way unexpectedly?
- Does your knee lock out and feel stuck?
If so then we would be more mindful through your strengthening program and if symptoms did not change we would refer you to a Physiotherapist for assessment and potential scan if required.