Question:

Dear TAI Experts:

I have a minor tear in my right meniscus that has not been a major problem. It did not swell and my doc. did not recommend surgery. It gets painful (achy)but does not swell after playing tennis or kneeling with gardening or biking. I wonder if I should be doing knee strengthening exercises or just accept that I need to ice it after more intense activity? I am 58 and active.

Answer:

Since I have not been able to provide a thorough evaluation of your knee I’m limited in the amount of information I can provide. However, rest assured that small tears of the meniscus are quite common and can be treated effectively through physical therapy. There is no need to be in pain after having fun! Although I don’t know where the tear in your meniscus is located, it is important to know that those injuries heal slowly due to poor blood supply.

In general a knee exam for torn meniscus would involve functional tests and a full complement of special tests to determine the exact location of your injury and whether there are any other problems we should address. Your physical therapist would then develop a treatment plan that met your specific needs – such as your desire to stay active and continue with sports. Treatment could involve strengthening weak muscles, functional movement training specific to your sport, and manual (hands-on) therapy techniques meant to encourage proper movement and healing of any damaged tissues. In the meantime, avoiding painful activity and icing your knee would be the best course of action.

Brian Weiderman PT, DPT