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Here’s the Secret They Are Not Telling You About Your Torn Meniscus

Dr. Arnan Sisson, PT/ September 14, 2022

If you have a torn meniscus in your knee, there are a lot of things you can do besides getting surgery that will give you the same result. Surgery is not always the quick fix people want or expect it to be.

Let me tell you something. You may have a torn meniscus, but the pain in your knee may not be coming from it. There are so many other areas of your body that can cause your knees to hurt and you deserve to have a full body assessment to know exactly what’s causing your pain and symptoms.

A torn meniscus is not the end of the world and doesn’t always need to be “fixed” for you to have full use of your knee. It may have been there all along and now that your knee hurts and you’ve had an X-Ray or MRI done, we see some “aging” of your meniscus.

One of the very few times when people actually need knee surgery is when it keeps them from doing the things they love after they’ve had physical therapy on multiple occasions and with multiple providers. (Not all physical therapy is the same, kind of like not all restaurants serve the same food.) Another indication for knee surgery is if there was direct trauma to your knee, like the kind that would happen in a football game.

If you have knee pain that develops overnight, over the course of a few weeks or after a specific activity, then there’s a likelihood there are other answers.

So, what might really be going on with your body that’s causing knee pain? Traditionally, if a torn meniscus is the cause, you will hear some sort of clicking, popping or your knee might lock up. That being said, healthy knees make noise, so don’t worry or jump to conclusions because you hear something.

We had a patient a few weeks ago who had been diagnosed with a torn meniscus and said he had some clicking. Within three visit’s, he was able to take his pain away by releasing a muscle around the knee.

Sometimes, the area of pain is just the area that’s overworked because somewhere else isn’t working the way it should. This happens everywhere, not just the knee.

Typically, knee pain is just the symptom and warning light that you have a hip or ankle problem. Focusing only on your knee will not completely address your problem or keep it from happening again.

Say you think you have a torn meniscus. What can you do about it? Don’t worry. What you need is someone to look through your whole body top to bottom and see if your knee is the thing just causing the alarm to go off, and not the real cause. Is it your ankle? Your hip? Your core stability? Or just something that’s tired and overworked?

The best medical professional to see 1st in this case is a physical therapist who can perform a total body assessment to tell you exactly what’s wrong with your knee, where the root cause of the problem is and how long it will take for you to recover.

If your knee turns out to be a problem that will benefit from an injection or surgery (typically that’s not the case if we can see you soon enough), our therapists will know and refer you to the right physician who can take care of you and look at your whole body.

If you’re struggling with knee pain and want to avoid injections, medications or surgery, click here to speak with our knee pain specialist or call us at (804) 493-3256. We would love to spend some time talking with you about what’s going on so we can give you an idea of how we can get you back to doing the activities you love!