The knee joint is such a vital component to our existence. Without our knees we can’t move. Our knees allow us to walk, jump, run, twist, squat and even lunge… the knees do it all.
Granted, it’s not solely responsible for all these movements. But without a fully functioning set of knee joints all of the above would be near impossible to do.
Which brings us to our point, our knees are so crucial to our mobility that we don’t realize just how important they are until we end up getting hurt. Now the list of different knee injuries is quite extensive, so we’re going to place emphasis on a specific type of injury:
Symptoms of meniscus injuries include:
Meniscus injuries are classified into two categories:
Now in addition to these two categories, each individual tear of the meniscus has a specific pattern. These patterns influence the recovery and treatment protocols.
These patterns include:
These essentially describe what the physical anatomy of the menisci would like after it is damaged. When one or more patterns are present the injury becomes a complex pattern and depending on the extent of the injury the classification can be named a complete tear.
In degenerative cases the mechanism of injury rarely involves any trauma or significant event as it usually occurs gradually over time.
Despite these structures rarely being injured in isolation, the treatment protocols are individualized to cater for the meniscus to successfully recover on its own or with surgical intervention. But we will discuss this later on in this article.
How to Confirm a Meniscal Injury
The gold standard for most orthopedic injuries is some form of radiological scan. In the case of meniscus injuries, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the preferred method.
However, MRI’s remain extremely expensive making it inaccessible to most. Therefore, physical therapists, doctors and athletic trainers tend to lean towards special testing as a cost effective alternative to the MRI. Although most special tests do not provide 100% efficacy, they still hold value in most clinical settings.
The 3 most commonly used special tests for the confirmation of a meniscus injury are:
In my personal experience as a trainer all 3 of these tests have been helpful in determining whether or not a client or patient has hurt his or her meniscus.
However, if you require a quick and easy confirmation I’d suggest trying the Thessaly test. Simply because you can do it by yourself as it requires no assistance from a therapist.
How to perform the Thessaly test to confirm a meniscus injury:
Again, this IS NOT A DIAGNOSIS, but if you are experiencing any sort of discomfort this test or one of the others, chances are that you’ve hurt your meniscus.
If your pain is moderate to severe please seek out medical attention as soon as possible.
The meniscus or menisci (plural) are C shaped tissues found within the knee capsule. The primary function of the meniscus is to act as the knee joint’s shock absorber. Injuries may be acute and sudden or occur overtime in a degenerative fashion. Most meniscus light to moderate meniscus injuries will heal and repair on its own in 8-12 weeks. However, surgical intervention is needed for more serious cases. Recovery depends on the type or injury and the extent of the treatment protocol. All in all, meniscal injuries remain quite common and the majority of cases recover successfully.