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Meniscus Injury: My "Locking" Knee.


Meniscus Injury

Pain in the knee can refer to different types of injuries, where there is also an intermittent locking, it could be a sign of a meniscal injury.


What is the meniscus?

The meniscus is a cartilage between the thigh bone and the bone below it. It mostly works to allow smooth movement between the 2 bones as well as to absorb impact.




How does meniscus injury occur?

Meniscal injury in the knee commonly occurs when there is a twisting movement of the body while the leg is still stationary on the ground. The twisting movement can tear the meniscus at both low and high speed. Such movements can cause various degrees of tears in the meniscus with symptoms of pain and swelling over the knee showing up in the following 24 hours.


In an older person, minimal trauma can also cause small tears in the meniscus due to pre-existing degenerative changes.



What does a meniscus injury feel like?

Pain and swelling of the affected knee causing difficulty in bending or straightening the knee are common in the acute phase of the injury (first few days to weeks, depends on the severity). Over time, it can also feel like an ‘on and off’ locking of the knee where the knee simply feels stuck at a certain angle. The locking sensation of the knee tends to resolve itself without much issue. However, it can be indicative of a torn and loose part of the meniscus moving within the knee joint.


What treatments are available?

There are surgical and non-surgical options for the management of meniscus injuries, depending on the severity of the injury. However, it is recommended that rehabilitation takes place before surgery to help with post surgical recovery. In some cases, surgery can be avoided after rehabilitation.


How does rehabilitation work?

Physiotherapists commonly work with clients with various backgrounds to help them to recover from a meniscus injury, whether or not surgery has been carried out.


The aims of rehabilitation are to reduce pain, increase the movement, strength and stability of the affected knee. A combination of soft tissue release, joint mobilization, prescribed exercises and close monitoring are personalized for each client depending on the severity of the injury and their goals of rehab (be they pain management or a return to sports). Close monitoring of the client’s progress throughout and after the rehabilitative process are essential in ensuring that recovery is adequate and further injury can be prevented.


Returning to Sport

Physiotherapists also study movements related to the specific sport, and integrate these movement into your rehabilitation program. Check out this video by our physiotherapist Mr Gan Jing Tap (Zino) for 3 simple exercises that recondition your injured knee for your favorite sport.



Still have burning questions about knee injuries? Feel free to contact one of our physiotherapists for a free 15 minutes tele-consultation today at 88920350.