What are the menisci?
The menisci are fibrocartilaginous tissue structures located between the femoral condyles and the tibia. Depending on their location, the internal meniscus is located on the inside of the knee, and the external meniscus is located on the outside. They distribute the loads that are exerted on the articular surfaces of the knee. They also stabilize the knee and reduce friction.
Types of meniscal injury
There are different types of meniscal involvement from a simple impingement to a complete rupture:
An excess of pressure-shearing in a concrete point of this structure triggers its inflammation and consequent painful symptomatology.
A part of this meniscus is slightly displaced from its natural physiological position, leaving a zone of this structure exposed to an excess of pressure on the part of the femoral condyle. It generates important pain and functional impotence preventing the patient from walking normally.
There are several degrees of affectation, from something very slight to a complete rupture.
It is important to note that not all patients with the same degree of injury will have the same symptoms. This is due to the fact that there are many factors that intervene in the experience of pain that each patient feels, such as the strength of the musculature close to the injury, whether or not the patient is overweight, how the patient’s metabolism is functioning at the level of inflammatory control mechanisms, etc.
Causes of a meniscal injury
They are usually traumatic causes, in which the patient when making a sudden movement feels a snapping accompanied by severe pain, joint blockage, inflammation and instability. However, there is a high percentage of cases that occur in middle-aged people with a microtraumatic origin, i.e., without having made any sudden or forced movement. This is due to a progressive deterioration of the structure as a result of a sedentary lifestyle (weakness of the stabilizing structures of the knee) or by playing sports with high joint demands (paddle, tennis, running, football, basketball…) sporadically and without having the proper physical conditioning for its practice.
Therefore, there are different reasons that generate this injury:
- Trauma with abrupt turns of the knee with the foot in support.
- Bad alignment of ankle-knee-hip axis.
- Excessive use of heels
- Knee and foot instability.
- Stiffness of the foot-ankle (often due to old injuries in this area, frequent sprains, etc.).
- Muscle imbalances
Treatment of a meniscus injury
In more severe cases, surgical treatment will be considered. Conservative treatment is usually sufficient in less severe cases. For this purpose, physiotherapy and electrotherapy techniques will be applied to reduce inflammation and restore mobility to the joint. They will be of great help techniques such as:
- Manual therapy
- Muscle rebalancing
- Muscle strengthening
- Functional rehabilitation.
MENISCUS INJURIES. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What does the body’s regenerative capacity depend on?
The healing of an injury or physical pathology is the responsibility of our body, in which there are automatic mechanisms that are activated when we lose the normal physical or organic balance. These mechanisms are complex and depend largely on metabolism (biochemical, hormonal and neuronal processes). If these mechanisms work at 100%, we will be protected from a large number of impacts that our body may suffer at different levels (physical, emotional, biochemical and energetic) but if these mechanisms are diminished in their function, the ability of recovery and regeneration of our cells will be compromised, and may block the healing processes to an illness or injury temporarily or permanently. This will be very important to take into account when treating any injury or pathology, otherwise the patient will be able to perform multiple physical treatments on an injury without obtaining results.
How is the treatment planning?
The planning of this type of therapy is always personalized, giving priority in the early stages of treatment to reduce pain, inflammation and improve the mechanical and metabolic factors that have caused the injury. Taking into account the causes that may have caused it, we will give great importance to the Functional Training sessions since they will be the ones that will recover the stability of the joint and reduce the mechanical stress of the same.
We will also recommend supplements and nutritional measures appropriate to the needs of the patient and his injury.
Should I suspend professional or sporting activity?
It will depend on each case according to the degree of injury and physical condition of the patient.
How much time should pass between sessions?
It will depend on each case, the most common is to perform one to two sessions per week.
How many sessions do I need to start noticing improvement?
It depends on each case, but normally with the use of state-of-the-art therapies such as those applied in Corporis the improvement is felt from the first session. Between 1 and 4 months is the time in which this type of recovery oscillates, being the most frequent 2 months for a complete incorporation to the usual sports activities.
This post is also available in: Spanish
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