A meniscus tear is a common injury that occurs to the cartilage in the knee. Each knee contains 2 menisci that help to absorb shock in the knee and stabilize the joint. An injury to these structures can occur as a result of a quick movement such as forcefully twisting the knee while putting weight through it. This can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty extending the knee fully.
If the tear is severe enough, surgery may be necessary. However, research studies have shown that improvements in pain and function are similar whether you have surgery or physical therapy. With that being said, going through a course of physical therapy first is the best course of action in the majority of cases and will help to determine if further action such as a surgery is necessary if you do not fully recover from the injury.
If you have suffered from a meniscus tear, a physical therapist will help you to decrease your pain, restore the movement in your knee, and work on strengthening and stabilizing your knee joint. The goal of physical therapy is to allow you to return to all of the activities that you enjoyed previously while simultaneously decreasing the risk of an injury occurring again.
Written by: Dr. David Reymann
Staff Physical Therapist at Harbor Physical Therapy