Three steps to take if you tear your meniscus

Posted on: 16 March 2019


The meniscus is a piece of cartilage found in the knee. This tissue can tear if you suffer from any conditions that cause cartilage degeneration, or if your knee is subjected to any form of physical trauma -- for example, if you fall over and hit your knee, or if your knee is struck by a very heavy object.

If you are currently suffering from this medical issue, here are some steps you should take to ensure you make a full recovery:

Avoid activities that will exacerbate the injury

The tearing of the meniscus cartilage can cause pain, stiffness or full immobilisation of the knee joint, as well as a lot of swelling. There are certain activities which can exacerbate this type of injury and make the aforementioned symptoms far worse. As such, it is important to avoid these activities whilst you are trying to recover from this health issue.

Examples of things that may worsen your injury include any form of exercise that places lots of pressure on the knees, like lifting heavy weights or running, and partaking in any activities that will increase blood circulation in the knee area, like sitting in a steam room or taking a long, hot bath -- this increase in blood flow makes the injured area even more swollen, which can then lead to further stiffening and immobilisation of the joint.

Visit a physiotherapy clinic as soon as you realise what the injury is

As soon as you realise that you have torn your meniscus, you should go to a physiotherapy clinic and have the injury assessed and treated.

The reason for this is as follows: meniscus tears don't always heal of their own accord. If you wait a few weeks, and simply hope that the injury will go away with time, the inflammation in your meniscus cartilage may worsen and your chances of making a full recovery will be much lower.

If you make this mistake, the damage caused by the inflammation may even permanently reduce your range of motion in the affected joint and leave you unable to do any activities that require your knees to bear significant weight, like running.

Getting your knee assessed and treated promptly by a physiotherapist will enable this professional to quickly reduce your pain levels, bring down the swelling and strengthen the muscles surrounding the damaged cartilage, all of which will give you a good chance of recovering quickly and completely.

Take good care of your knee in between your physio appointments

It is also important to make an effort to care for your damaged knee in between your physio appointments, as this will help to speed up your recovery.

For example, when you are sitting down at work or at home, you should place your knee on a chair piled up with cushions in front of you, in order to keep it elevated. This will prevent the swelling from worsening.

Additionally, you may want to take OTC anti-inflammatories to prevent the torn cartilage from getting more inflamed, and apply ice-packs to the knee a few times each day in order to keep the swelling down and prevent stiffness.