Knee injuries affect millions of adolescents and adults each year. While most knee injuries resolve without extensive treatment, there are some patients who require very extensive treatment, even surgery to repair the damage in and around the knee. If you have suffered a knee injury, it is important to understand not only the treatment your physician is recommending but also be certain you are clear on the diagnosis and what it means to your long term health.
The meniscus is a vital part of knee joint mobility. As a fibrous cartilage, the meniscus is responsible for managing the weight bearing activity on your knee and provides stability when moving. When the meniscus of your knee is damaged, there is additional weight and responsibility placed upon your articular cartilage which, ultimately, may lead to abnormal knee damage and deterioration.
When assessing your knee injury, if the orthopedic specialist has determined the complication lies in the meniscus, there may be a variety of treatment options made available to you. In many cases, therapy and medications are the first line of treatment as these are the most conservative. However, the success of these therapies and treatments will depend, in part, on what aspect of your meniscus was damaged.
The cells within the meniscus are varied. Therefore, damage to the inner meniscus will vary from damage to the outer meniscus. This factor is important as you consider the therapy options necessary to heal and stretch the meniscus into recovery. Using CT scan, MRI or other diagnostic studies, your orthopedic specialist should be able to narrow the location of the meniscus damage and then develop a treatment plan specific to that damage. Simply making referral to a physical therapist, without knowledge of inner meniscus or outer meniscus damage, may result in an unnecessary delay in your recovery process.
Knee injuries, of any kind, decrease mobility. With loss of range of motion, decreased strength and decreased endurance, many adults suffer from knee injuries and then enter into therapy programs without understanding the full scope of their injury. Because the decrease in mobility can lead to complications involving loss of independence and even the development of mental health disorders, it is important to narrow your diagnosis and then treat that condition based on the specific needs. When suffering from a meniscus injury, ask your orthopedic specialist to identify the complication as either an inner meniscus or outer meniscus injury and then plan your therapy accordingly.