Following your diagnosis of a torn meniscus your Dr. may refer you to Physical Therapy. We aim to help you understand what to expect out of Physical Therapy with a meniscus tear. Upon your first visit here at Elite Physical Therapy you will receive a thorough evaluation from one of our trained physical therapists. During this initial evaluation, your PT will evaluate and assess the strength and integrity of your knee joint as well as the joints above and below your knee. Your PT will also take special care to adhere to any special precautions set forth by your MD or surgeon. Once this evaluation is finished it is time to begin your therapy.
To begin with, you will be instructed in and coached through a series of specialized exercises that will help restore strength and flexibility of the soft tissues surrounding the knee joint. Two important muscle groups are responsible for maintaining stability and mobility in the human knee. First, the quadriceps group is responsible for providing knee extension and is very important in keeping the knee stable during the gait process. If these muscles become weak it can create safety issues while walking such as the knee wanting to “buckle” in the stance phase of the gait pattern and the inability to achieve full knee extension can also lead to faulty gait mechanisms such as decreased heel strike. The hamstrings on the other hand provide the movement known as knee flexion. Knee flexion is important when squatting and with bending the leg underneath a chair to safely stand up and for walking up and down stairs. Following your knee surgery, it is very important that these 2 muscle groups are restored to their optimal condition. Some activities that you may be required to perform as part of your PT treatment may include:
- Hamstring stretches
- Hamstring curls
- Iliotibial band stretches
- Quad sets
- Straight leg raises
- Heel slides
- Short arc quad
During your treatment sessions at Elite PT you may also expect to receive various types of manual treatments focused on restoring mobility in the knee joint. These treatments will be performed directly by the clinician and may include soft tissue manipulation to certain muscles and tendons that can inhibit knee range of motion. Other techniques such as joint mobilizations and passive stretching may also be utilized to improve flexibility in the knee.
Towards the end of your therapy session you may experience some mild discomfort or swelling due to the exercises that were performed during your treatment. As a result, your clinician may find it helpful to use one of several modalities to assist with swelling and discomfort. Two such modalities that can be combined to address this are a TENS unit and a vasopneumatic or cryo cuff. The TENS will provide electrical stimulation to assist with negating the pain signals being sent from the nervous system around the knee. The cryocuff is a specially fit device that surrounds the knee and is filled with cold water and also has a compressive effect. These two modalities combined are often what the patient calls “the best part of therapy” can be highly effective at decreasing pain and swelling following a treatment.
If you are experiencing any kind of knee pain or have been diagnosed with a meniscus tear, contact us for a free consultation. To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care. Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.