What is a meniscus
They are fibro-discs with a basic function to absorb vibration and stabilize the joint. Our knees include two meniscus (medial and lateral). They are located between the thigh and the tibia and are obviously subject to high compressive loads.
These structures can be ruptured either due to injury (violent and abrupt turn in the joint) or due to cartilage degeneration. When the rupture occurs, the joint swells, the range of motions is reduced and pain is caused by movement, especially bending. Patients report feeling their leg “give away” or can feel clicks from the joint.
Patients with meniscus rupture are generally referred for surgical or conservative treatment. Surgery involves various intervention techniques to clean and repair damaged tissue. Usually the recovery time after surgery is 1 to 2 months depending on the severity of the injury. The specialist Orthopedic surgeon will guide you properly in the treatment according to specific criteria. The profile of the patient (age, general condition, compliance, activities), the characteristics of the rupture (area, type, duration) and whether it is stable or not, plays an important role in the surgery decision. The procedure is usually done arthroscopically either by suturing the meniscus or by removing a section.
According to recent research data, the efficacy of conservative treatment of patients with meniscus rupture involving physiotherapy shows a statistically significant improvement for patients which is equal to surgery. Patients who underwent a rehabilitation program compared to those who underwent surgery, had a similar improvement in mobility and pain reduction. This, of course, does not apply to all patients, and in particular to those with severe symptoms, which should be considered criteria for possible arthroscopy.
The rehabilitation program is tailored to the needs and problems of each patient. Physical therapy aims to reduce inflammation and increase strength and range of motion. Various natural remedies are suggested for the period when the knee is in acute or chronic inflammation such as ice therapy.
Although research does not show that the use of these agents drastically improves the speed of recovery, their incorporation can help some patients manage symptoms and improve quality of life during recovery. Various exercises with progressive loading depending on the recovery period are used to increase muscle strength. Also included are stretches, functional exercises, proprioception and balance exercises. The patient also follows an aerobic program and performs the exercise daily at home. The program is progressive and its development depends on the pain, muscle strength, range of motion, oedema and functional mobility.
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