Sometimes throughout the joints within out body we can experience direct trauma and injury to an area. Sometime we just get unlucky and find ourselves in a compromised position that results in injury. For example, hitting our leg on a rock while climbing a mountain or getting tackled and breaking a bone when playing rugby. I mean we could have chosen to not engage in the activity that resulted in injury, but that sounds like a boring / sheltered life where we don’t get to have much fun - no thanks!
There are also various injuries that are very often acquired due to an inability of our body to maintain optimal joint function & biomechanics when it performs certain activities. An example of this could be getting a labral tear in our shoulder when throwing a ball because the rotator cuff muscles weren’t able to maintain good joint function (and then too much stress was placed on the labrum) while throwing. Check previous blog post: https://www.customhealthcoaching.com/post/weak-or-dysfunctional-rotator-cuff-muscles-can-be-the-cause-of-shoulder-pain
Regardless of how the injury was acquired, we should always be able to learn from the experience so that we can prevent it from happening again or at least decrease the chances of this. Heres two questions that I believe we should always ask ourselves:
1 - What could I have done differently to prevent this from happening?
2 - What can I do from this point moving forward to ensure that this doesn’t happen again?
Medial meniscus tears are a very common issue experienced by humans and they will absolutely create knee pain and a feeling of instability (which isn’t very nice). Let’s now explore how meniscus tears typically happen and the best approach when it comes to fixing them.
First of all we need to look at the function of the knee joint itself. The basics of the knee joint function is actually quite simple - the knee joints main function is simply to flex and extend (bend and straighten the leg). There is a little bit of rotation of the tibia (shin bone) under the femur (thigh bone) however this should really only be minimal and and when it goes beyond minimal issues can arise.
So if the knee just bends back and forwards and is supposedly such a simple joint… then why are there so many potential issues that can arise arise?
The meniscus is a ‘C’ shaped fibrous cartilage that sit between the femur and the tibia creating a cushion like effect between the two. We have one on the outside (lateral meniscus) and one on the inside (medial meniscus) of each knee. A tear to the meniscus typically occurs when the knee experiences too much rotation and stress on certain parts of the meniscus. Tears can happen acutely with a highly stressful event (example - jumping off a fence and twisting you knee on the landing), or chronically overtime with repetitive smaller stresses (example - knee instability and poor joint mechanics through movement creating “wear and tear” over a few years).
Depending on the severity of this injury generally you will be able to take a conservative approach and let it heal with rest, recovery and the right corrective program, or sometimes surgery may be required if the tear is of higher seriousness. Although regardless of the severity of the tear there are some things everyone should do to prevent this from happening or to make sure this does not happen again.
The focus should be on optimising the biomechanics and function of your knees. This means addressing foot and hip stability along with ankle and hip mobility: the knee should bend back and forwards “optimally” which is ultimately going to be guided by the hips and feet - they determine where the knee goes when we move. Its also essential that we build optimal strength, mobility and stability at the knee joint itself creating an optimal relationship between muscles such as (but not limited to) the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves that act on the knee joint.
Checkout my knee pain solutions page to really understand the problems and solutions when it comes to knee pain: https://www.customhealthcoaching.com/kneepain
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Have a great day!