Premiership Football Physio Neal Reynolds talks exclusively to Sportsinjuryclinic.net about cartilage tears including medical meniscus injuries
Cartilage meniscus injuries
Physiotherapist Neil Reynolds talks about the two types of cartilage injury; articular and meniscal. When most people day cartilage they are referring to the meniscus tear, especially when there is also a ligament tear.
Meniscus tears can vary in type and severity. Pain and some swelling are the usual first signs. This should be treated as soon as possible with ice and compression.
In most cases, a small tear in the menisucs isn't a major problem as long as the tear sits flat. However, if the tear sticks upwards then this can be a problem and might cause locking or giving way. In this case an operation is usually recommended. In younger people in particular, surgeons are now trying to repair the cartilage rather than remove it.
Rehabilitation is important whether a tear is operated on or not. This should include quad and hamstring exercises to improve the stability and proprioception at the joint and help prevent further injuries.
Once the swelling has started to go down, activities can begin with Cardiovascular exercises like biking and swimming (no breaststroke!), gradually increasing the weight through the joint. If the knee swells at all this tends to mean that either the tear hasn't settled enough or it is stuck up.
Injuries to the medial meniscus are very common and recoverycan be very quick, just a few weeks.