Exercises to Treat a Meniscus Injury
To recover the meniscus, it is important to undergo physical therapy, which must be personally indicated by a physical therapist. Electronic exercises and equipment are indicated to help relieve pain, reduce swelling, in addition to specific physical therapy techniques to increase knee mobility and increase the range of motion of this joint.
Some options for physical therapy exercises that can be indicated for meniscus recovery are:
- Bend and stretch your leg while lying on your back: 3 sets of 60 times;
- Support the weight of the body itself, gently supporting the body weight on the affected leg, using crutches or using the back of a cedar tree;
- Gently move the patella from side to side and from top to bottom;
- About 5 minutes of thigh massage a day;
- Contract the thigh muscle with the leg straight, 20 times in a row;
- Exercises in the pool like walking in the water for 5 to 10 minutes;
- Balance exercises initially with nothing and then with one foot on a half-empty ball, for example;
- Exercises for legs with elastic bands and then with weights, in 3 sets of 20 repetitions;
- 15 minutes on an exercise bike;
- Mini squats to the limit of pain, in 3 sets of 20 repetitions;
- Leg stretches to increase flexibility.
After about 2 months of treatment, the person's need should be checked and if there is still local pain or limited movement to be able to adjust the treatment.
When the person no longer feels pain, but cannot bend the knee completely, exercises should have this objective. A good exercise is doing squats, increasing the degree of knee flexion, the goal may be to try to squat as much as possible, until you can sit on your heels.
At the end of each session it may be useful to place an ice pack on your knee for 15 minutes to deflate the area or prevent it from swelling. Proprioceptive exercises are also indicated, at the end of the treatment, when the person is closer to healing.
In this video, despite always talking about osteoarthritis, the same exercises can be used to strengthen the thighs and legs in case of meniscal injury:
Other physiotherapy treatments
Electrotherapy devices can also be indicated to relieve pain and facilitate healing, leaving the physiotherapist the right choice. Voltages, ultrasound, laser, microcurrents or others can be used. Sessions are usually divided so that there is time for passive knee mobilization, other manual therapy techniques, and exercises.
Exercises can also be performed inside a pool with warm water, known as hydrokinesiotherapy. These are especially indicated when the person is overweight, because in the water it is easier to perform the exercises properly, without pain.
The treatment time varies from one person to another and your general health status and whether you can perform physical therapy daily or not, however a good recovery is expected in about 4 to 5 months, but many people need about 6 months to recover completely.
When treatment with physiotherapy is not enough to eliminate pain, and the person is able to carry out their daily activities normally, it may be indicated to have surgery to remove the meniscus, for example. Learn more about meniscus surgery here.