The cartilage that is placed on top of the tibia and in between the femur bone and the tibia is the meniscus. It is this cartilage which enables the gliding movement of the knee joint. Torn meniscus is a common knee injury. A person can suffer either from medial or lateral torn meniscus. This injury is often caused due to forceful twisting of the knee joint, which causes the femur to grind into the head of the tibia. It can either only pinch the tibia or it can tear the cartilage itself. It is seen, that this injury is often caused during athletic activities. Although it is one of the most common injuries, treating the injuries is not as difficult. Using the physical therapy exercises for torn meniscus accelerates the healing process.
Medical Exercises for a Torn Meniscus
When one talks about the rehab exercises for torn meniscus, one should not only concentrate on the knee joint. There should be exercises to work the muscles in the entire leg. It is important that the thigh muscles are strengthened, which in turn will help in healing the cartilage. The quadriceps and the hamstrings will help in increasing the mobility and flexibility of the knee joint, which in turn will help to repair the meniscus.
Exercise # 1
Tie ankle weights around the ankle, which has suffered torn meniscus. Make sure you initially start with lowest of the weight possible. Sit on a chair with your leg hanging. Do not touch the foot to the floor and hold the position for a few minutes. Slowly lower the leg and repeat the same on the other leg, as it will help in strengthening the other leg as well. Ideally this exercise should be repeated 2 to 3 times everyday.
Exercise # 2
The next of the knee strengthening exercises for torn meniscus are the leg lifts. Lie on your stomach with both the legs extended out straight. Gradually lift the affected leg up in the air and hold it there for a few seconds. Release and slowly lower the leg. Repeat the same on the other leg as well. This exercise should be repeated 5 to 7 times on both the legs.
Exercise # 3
This exercise is often a part of physical therapy for a torn meniscus after surgery. To do this exercise sit on a chair with another chair in front of you. Place a pillow on the other chair. Extend and place both the legs on the chair in front of you. In this position the knee will be at a raised angle. Gently try to push the knee towards the floor, however, make sure you are using only the muscles of the leg for the same. Hold this position for a few seconds before you release the position and repeat the exercise. Ideally the exercise has to be repeated 5 to 7 times about 2 to 3 times daily.
Exercise # 4
This exercise helps in strengthening the calf muscles, which in turn helps in healing the torn meniscus. Stand close to a chair for support. Make sure there is about 6 to 10 inches away from the chair. There should be hip width distance between your feet. Hold on to the back rest of the chair and slowly raise your heels off the floor and balance your weight on the balls of the feet. When you raise your heels make sure your knees are straight. Hold the position for a few seconds and then gradually release and repeat the exercise 3 to 5 times, twice daily.
Exercise # 5
The next of the exercise for torn meniscus is walking in waist deep water. It helps in rehabilitating the injured knee. Walking in water will cause no impact on the knee joint, but the resistance of water will help in strengthening the muscles of the leg. If the pain is not immense, you can try to run slowly in water as well.
These were some of the physical therapy exercises for treating torn meniscus. Before you practice any of the exercises, it is advisable to consult your physiotherapist about the same. When you are doing the exercises, if you notice any kind of pain, stop doing the exercise immediately and consult your physiotherapist about the same.