What is Meniscal Tear?
The menisci in the knee joint are cartilage parts in the shape of a half moon. There are 2 meniscus in the knee joint, internal and external. The menisci are located between the tibia and the thigh. Menisci are structures with dense collagen fibers to resist compression, elasticity and therefore have important functions. The menisci absorb the incoming shocks, distribute the load over a wider area and protect the articular cartilages from high pressure and help the stability of the knee.
How Does a Meniscus Tear Occur?
Meniscus tears can occur in people of all ages, although meniscus tears can be seen as an athlete’s disease because it can be seen frequently in athletes. Injuries are mostly seen during sudden rotational movements. Since the meniscus tissue is solid in young individuals, severe trauma must be present in order for meniscus tears to be seen. However, due to the degeneration that occurs in the meniscus at advanced ages, these individuals can have tears even in mild traumas.
What Are Meniscal Tear Symptoms?
The most important clinical finding of meniscus tears is pain. Pain usually occurs during the knee-bending motion. However, depending on the size of the tear, there may also be complaints of locking and snagging in the knee. As there will be compression in the meniscus during stair use and squatting, pain may increase and locking may occur in the bent knee.
There may also be fluid increase in the joint space in the knee where meniscus tears occur. Patients describe this as a feeling of swelling or fullness in the knee. Early diagnosis is important in meniscus tears. As a result of the meniscus being torn for a long time, stability problems may occur in the knee, and accordingly calcification and cartilage damage may occur.
What To Do In Physical Therapy For Meniscus Tears?
Physical therapy methods are used as conservative treatment in incomplete meniscus tears. The purpose of the treatment of these patients is the elimination of complaints such as pain, swelling and joint restrictions and strengthening of the muscles around the knee.
Physiotherapy plays an important role in edema control, prevention of muscle atrophy, pain control and returning the patient to normal daily life activities.
Why Is Physiological Treatment Important After Surgery For Meniscal Tears?
Advanced meniscus tears are now treated surgically. Depending on the meniscus tear, surgery is performed in two ways. Depending on the location and condition of the tear, surgery is performed either as meniscus repair or meniscectomy (removal of the meniscus).
After the surgery, the role of physiotherapy is great. Depending on the type of surgery performed, the duration of physical therapy also varies between 2 weeks and 6 weeks. The main purpose of physical therapy after surgery is reducing pain and inflammation, increasing muscle strength and endurance, helping the joint regain function as the articular cartilage has to adapt to maintain function without meniscus .
For this purpose, physical therapy modalities and appropriate exercise programs are used. Since the exercises to be performed are determined gradually in the postoperative period and are planned according to the patient’s condition, the exercises should not be applied unconsciously.