For the past few years Active Physio Health Director, Shayne Podbury has been answering member’s injury questions about knee pain.
Shayne has listed a few common mechanisms of injury to the meniscus of the knee.
Patients with meniscal injuries typically report the following symptoms:
- a twisting injury to the knee with immediate discomfort
- pain on the inside or the outside of the knee close to the joint line
- pain when attempting to take the heel to the buttock (i.e. full bending)
- catching and locking inside the joint when attempting to bend the knee
- generalised swelling and discomfort of the knee
Anatomy of the meniscus
The menisci of the knee joint are two pads of cartilaginous tissue which serve to disperse friction in the knee joint between the lower leg (tibia) and the thigh (femur). They are shaped concave on the top and flat on the bottom, articulating with the tibia. They are attached to the small depressions (fossae) between the condyles of the tibia (intercondyloid fossa), and towards the center they are unattached and their shape narrows to a thin shelf.
The menisci act to disperse the weight of the body and reduce friction during movement. Since the condyles of the femur and tibia meet at one point (which changes during flexion and extension), the menisci spread the load of the body’s weight. This differs from sesamoid bones, which are made of osseous tissue and whose function primarily is to protect the nearby tendon and to increase its mechanical effect.
Some meniscal injuries can be managed with a well designed strengthening program and modification of activities. However, many patients with meniscal injuries require arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage to these structures. The need for surgical correction needs to be discussed with your treating Physiotherapist, Surgeon or Sports Physician.
If you would like to know more, please call Shayne on ph. 4972 5155, or visit the website www.activephysiohealth.com.au