Do you have knee pain when you do activity, or even when you are at rest? It could be an issue with your meniscus. What is the meniscus and where is it? The meniscus is a piece of cartilage, which is like the tissue in your ear, or at the end of your nose. It is like a shock absorber between your top knee bone and your bottom knee bone. Sometimes this will tear when you step down awkwardly, you twist your knee funny, or when you are walking on an uneven surface. Sometimes it just wears down from use over many years. It is pretty common to have some swelling and some achiness. After you injure the meniscus it’s not uncommon to have pain just doing your daily stuff, bending, going up and down stairs, running, biking, or even just sitting. This definitely takes away from your ability to run, bike, or even just play with your kids. These are daily things that you want to be able to do and don’t want to have pain with. So, what are your options?
First, lets look at the research. The research says that surgery is not always necessary, and neither is getting an MRI. If you tore your meniscus the likelihood is good that you will recover from it, but there are some limitations. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to recover without having surgery, or even spring for an MRI? There are ways to do that. One of the best ways to start the healing process is to begin performing some simple exercises.
These next three simple exercises are ways that you can help your road to recovery, and heal that meniscus up without surgery.
- The first, and easiest, exercise that you can do for the meniscus is a simple knee extension. Sit on the edge of a bench or on the edge of a chair, and straighten your knee out all the way and then bring it back, holding it for one or two seconds at the end. Focus on getting the top part of your leg, or your quad engaged. Doing these ten to twelve times will be really helpful.
- The second one is a simple squat. Pretend like you are sitting in a chair that’s really far behind you, stick your bottom way back and then stand all the way back up. Again, it’s a simple exercise but it gets that knee moving and gets those muscles working.
- The last one is called a bridge, or a glute bridge. You begin by lying down on your back on a firm surface with your knees bent. Next, squeeze your bottom, squeeze your abs and lift your hips off of the ground and then come back down. You’re going to repeat the bridge about twelve times.
With all of these exercises, do them two, or three times per day and try to get some motion and strength back in your knee. When you have an injury, you have inflammation and swelling and these exercises can help decrease that inflammation and swelling.
If you did these exercises and they were helpful we would love to hear about it, please leave a comment below. If you did these exercises and you’re two weeks in and they aren’t helping at all definitely lets us know, we would love to be able to help you out. We will see you soon.
– Dr. Jordan
van de Graaf VA, Noorduyn JCA, Willigenburg NW, Butter IK, de Gast A, Mol BW, Saris DBF, Twisk JWR, Poolman RW; ESCAPE Research Group. Effect of Early Surgery vs Physical Therapy on Knee Function Among Patients With Nonobstructive Meniscal Tears: The ESCAPE Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2018 Oct 2;320(13):1328-1337.
Marsh JD, Birmingham TB, Giffin JR, Isaranuwatchai W, Hoch JS, Feagan BG, Litchfield R, Willits K, Fowler P. Cost-effectiveness analysis of arthroscopic surgery compared with non-operative management for osteoarthritis of the knee. BMJ Open. 2016 Jan 12;6(1):e009949.