The knee is one of the most complex joints in the human body. As many sports place extreme stress on the knee, it is also one of the most common sites for sports injury, meniscus being one of them.
The knee is a hinge joint, structured to perform two principal actions, flexion (bending) and extension (straightening). The muscles which act at the knee are predominantly the quadriceps (extension) and the hamstrings (flexion).
Meniscus tear is a common injury that affects the knee joint. The meniscus is ‘C’ shaped discs, made of tough cartilage called fibrocartilage. They are positioned on the tibial plateau (top surface of the shin bone) between the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone). The meniscus is important for distributing load and absorbing shock at the knee joint. There are two menisci within each knee joint.
Meniscal tears can occur in isolation or in combination with a ligamentous injury. Damage usually occurs to the meniscus by a twist occurring on a slightly flexed knee. A partial or total tear of a meniscus may occur when a person quickly twists or rotates the upper leg while the foot stays planted. Repeated or prolonged squatting can also tear the meniscus.
Meniscal tears can be degenerative or traumatic. Degenerative tears occur as part of progressive wear in the whole joint or as a result of habitual, prolonged squatting. In the older adult, the tear may be due to a natural degeneration of the menisci that occurs with age. The traumatic type of injury is quite common in the athletic setting.
- Undertaking training prior to competition to ensure readiness to play.
- Warming up, stretching, and cooling down.
- Undertaking fitness programs to develop strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.
- Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of training.
- Allowing adequate recovery time between workouts or training sessions.
- Wearing the right protective equipment including footwear.
- Checking the sporting environment for hazards.
- Drinking water before, during, and after play.
- Avoiding activities that cause pain.
Signs and symptoms
Straightening, bending, or twisting the knee will be painful. If the tear is tiny, the meniscus stays connected to the front and back of the knee. A large tear, however, may leave the meniscus only slightly intact. Pain can be severe, intermittent, and localised to the side of the joint.
Swelling may occur soon after the injury or several hours later as a result of inflammation. Complaints of clicking, popping, or locking of the knee may follow a meniscus injury.
For any soft tissue injury, the treatment consists of the RICER protocol – rest, ice, compression, elevation, and referral. Follow the No HARM protocol – no heat, alcohol, running or activity, and no massage. This will ensure decreased swelling and bleeding in the injured area.
See a sports medicine professional as soon as possible to determine the extent of the injury. To confirm the diagnosis an x-ray or MRI may be recommended. Arthroscopy can also help diagnose and treat a meniscal tear.
Chiro & Sports Med
Our chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med are committed to providing chiropractic solutions to address your unique needs, whether you are experiencing an irritated nerve, bulging disc, back pain, neck pain, knee pain, headaches, or even muscular tightness and tension. You may be searching for pain relief after an accident or experiencing an injury. Our mission is to help reduce or eliminate pain and to prevent future problems and injury. Above all, we are here to improve your quality of life, well-being, and your ability to live an active healthy lifestyle.