Sudden swelling and pain in the knee might be an effect of a meniscus tear. Almost 60 per cent of people above the age of 65 are likely to experience knee pain due to meniscus tear. Whether the person needs surgery or not depends on the type of tear and how deep it is. A person has two menisci, a cartilage layer, one in each knee.
The meniscus muscle has several impeccable functions such as holding the knee in the right position, absorbing shock, and enhancing knee stability. Knee tear is common in people who perform arduous physical activity. For people with the injury, the doctor might suggest a few strengthening exercises to enhance the meniscus cartilage and boost healing.
Symptoms of meniscus tear
A meniscus tear can occur as a result of excessive strain or exercise. Here are some common symptoms of meniscus tear;
- clicking sounds
Meniscus tear risk is common in military personals, a person with a highly active routine, and also in men above 40 years.
How long does recovery take when your knee suffers a meniscus tear?
A less severe to mild tear might take around 4-8 weeks to heal while a severe tear might need knee replacement surgery and the recovery time extends to 6 months. The average cost of knee replacement depends on the type of tear and the hospital. The doctor would suggest simple exercises to boost healing and strengthen the muscle.
1. Mini squats
Mini squats improve the strength of the quadriceps, large muscles at the front of the thigh. It also doesn’t exert much pressure on the knees.
- Stand straight with your back, shoulders, and head against the wall.
- Keep the feet apart with at least shoulder-width distance and stand one foot away from the wall.
- Gently bend the knee and try to sit without a chair.
- Don’t bend the spine and take your butt towards the ground and stop at 15 degrees.
- Hold the position for about 10 seconds and then come back to the normal position.
- Perform this 8 to 10 times twice with 1-minute rest between the sets.
The mini squats can be done without wall support but when the back is against the wall, the load and pressure on the knees become minimal.
2. Quadriceps setting
The quadriceps setting is a type of isometric exercise, meaning the body muscles get exercised while the body stays in a static position.
- Lie on the ground flat with legs extended away from the body
- Now you push the knee towards the ground with a slight push, this way the quadriceps muscle contracts.
- Hold for 10 to 20 seconds the contraction
- Perform 2 repeats, 10 times each with a 1-minute gap in between.
3. Hamstring heel digs
The hamstring heel digs strengthen the hamstrings muscles in the thigh and also works the abdomen.
- Lie with your back on the floor, knee bent and feet placed flat
- Now to lift your front portion of the feet in such a way that only your heel touches the ground
- Now, dig your heel in the ground and the feet about 4 to 6 inches away from the body
- Now again bring your heels back towards the body and return to the original position, while doing this, you should feel the train in the back of your thigh.
- Do two sets with 8 to 10 repeats. Take 30 seconds to 1-minute rest between the sets.
4. Prone hang
The prone hang exercise increases the mobility range of the knee
- Lie on a bed with your face down and extend the legs over the edge.
- Know let your knee extend over the edge and gravity does its work to pull the knees down.
- Try holding the position for 10 seconds and then bring your knee back up.
- Do the same three time with each knee
5. Straight leg raise
The straight leg raise exercise works the hamstrings and strengthens the quadriceps muscles.
- Lie flat on the floor with right leg bent and the left leg extended
- With your back and pelvis in a fixed position, flex your left foot and tighten the left thigh muscles and gently lift the left leg off the ground.
- Lift the left leg at 45 degrees and bring down the leg gently to the floor
- Perform 2 sets, 10 repeats in each leg before your switch the leg.
6. Standing heel rise
The standing heel-rise is the perfect exercise to strengthen and build the calf muscles.
- Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on the wall or a heavy piece of furniture for support
- Now slowly lift your heels off the ground and raise your body up
- Hold the position for 10 seconds and bring your heels back down
- Do 2 sets of 8 to 10 repeats. Take 1minute rest between the sets.
The clams exercise is a winner as it works several muscles at the same time including the hip abductors and buttocks.
- Lie on your left side and align the hip and feet by bending your knees at 45 degrees
- Now raise your right knee in the same position without moving the pelvis and back.
- Lower the right knee gently to gain the original position.
- Do 2 sets of 8–10 repetitions before side change and take a 1-minute break in between.
Exercise to avoid
During a meniscus tear, exerting too much pressure might worsen the condition. Here are some exercises that you should avoid preventing further damage;
- Deep squats
- Exercise that has pivoting or twists the knee
- Using weights
A meniscus tear can worsen over time if left unattended. To avoid worse situations, consult your doctor and take prompt measures at the earliest as possible.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.