The menisci are two c-shaped discs located along the outer and inner edge of the knee. The menisci are meant to keep the knee steady by distributing weight across the knee. A meniscus tear can occur whenever you twist or turn while your foot is planted and the knee is bent. Meniscus tears are common sports injuries and often require surgery and lengthy rehabilitation. While not all meniscus injuries can be prevented, a few simple steps can help you keep your knees healthy.
By focusing on building flexibility and strength in your hip flexors, calf muscles, quadriceps, and hamstrings, you can increase the stability and range of motion of your knee. Low-impact aerobic activities, including swimming, biking, and walking, can strengthen the knee and improve range of motion. Balancing exercises can improve your sense of position so that it is easier to keep your body properly aligned over your knee joints.
Gentle warm up exercises increase blood flow to the tissues of the knee, which improves elasticity. This increased flexibility makes the knee less prone to injury during your workout.
You should start by investing in a quality pair of shoes that are appropriate for your particular sport or activity. Footwear with the proper cushioning will reduce the amount of impact that your knee has to absorb and will help keep the knee stable. If you have weak or unstable knees, you should consider wrapping or taping your knee or even wearing a knee brace.
If you experience pain during an activity, you should avoid the motions that cause the pain. You should see a physician as soon as possible to determine the reason for the pain. If you cannot avoid the activity entirely, try to decrease or modify the motions in such a way as to avoid exacerbating any injury. It is also important to take frequent breaks while engaging in any sport or strenuous physical activity. You are more prone to knee and other types of injuries when you are fatigued.
If you have undergone a meniscus repair or any other type of knee injury, it is important that you allow yourself plenty of time to heal before returning to sports or other strenuous activities. Following a meniscus injury, your orthopaedist or physical therapist will guide you through appropriate exercises designed to strengthen and increase mobility in your injured knee. By slowly increasing the intensity of the exercises, you can reduce your chances of reinjuring your knee.