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Common Injuries and Treatments

Ankle / Elbow / Hip / Knee / Shoulder / Spine / Wrist



Meniscus Tears

What is a meniscus tear?

The meniscus is the tough connective tissue in the knee between the lower end of the thigh (femur) and shin (tibia). There are two menisci per knee - one on the inside of the joint (called the medial meniscus) and one on the outside of the joint (called the lateral meniscus). The primary role of this tissue is to provide shock absorption between the bones and add to the stability of the knee joint.  With excessive stress or trauma, this tissue can be damaged or torn. 

What causes injuries to this tissue?

Meniscus tissue is most often injured with combinations of bending and straightening with rotational stress. Pain is often felt on the inside or outside of the knee joint with injuries to the meniscus. The classic sign of a serious meniscus injury is feeling a "catching" or "locking" of the knee during movement. 

What is the best treatment approach?

The severity of meniscal injuries vary and many of the less severe injuries can be managed by physical therapy, relative rest and gradual exercise progression to return to your previous level of function. More serious meniscal injuries may require a surgical intervention where they either repair or remove parts of the injured meniscus.  Physical therapy is almost always recommended after surgery for a meniscal injury. 

What will the role of physical therapy be in this process?

Physical therapy will focus on decreasing the initial inflammation after the injury or surgery.  Progressive range of motion activities, stretching and strengthening will assist in returning the knee to its normal mechanics.

Will other services be helpful in taking care of this?

Underlying muscle tightness and soft tissue restrictions that are found to be related to meniscus injuries may be helped by massage therapy work.  Acupuncture can also be of assistance with the pain associated with these conditions.  Training to return to specific life tasks or sports can be initiated by physical therapists and progressed by personal trainers.  After your initial physical therapy evaluation, your physical therapist will help to determine if these services may be helpful.

Need More?

If you have more clinical questions about this condition, please click here to email our Director of Clinical Operations, Jessica Douglas, MSPT, OCS, or you can get more information by searching our blog.

If you'd like a complimentary injury screen with one of our licensed physical therapists to discuss your condition, please contact us.

If you're ready to make an appointment for any of our services, please contact us.

Patient Info

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617.536.1161

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