Meniscus Tear Prevention Tips for Athletes to Lower Their Risk

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Written By MartinCorbett

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In the United States alone, over 850,000 meniscus tears are performed annually. A meniscus tear often needs to be performed due to faulty cartilage healing which explains why prevention is key in order to minimize injury. Our non-surgical medical stem cell and orthobiologic treatments are top of the line. Meniscal damage proudly serve Wisconsin, Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Whitefish Bay, Delafield, Richfield, Pewaukee, Franklin & Greater Milwaukee Areas.

The Frail Meniscus

The meniscus is a cartilage layer located beneath your knee that supports and absorbs shock, as well as protecting other cartilage at its ends. Due to its ability to withstand excessive pressure and allow for greater movement, it is particularly vulnerable to tears.

It may not heal depending on where a meniscus tear occurs. Some areas of cartilage do not have access to blood circulation, meaning without essential nutrients and growth factors in the bloodstream, healing cannot take place.

Conditioning is the best way to avoid meniscus injury. It strengthens and balances the muscles surrounding your knee, which in turn protects it. These are some of the top tips for avoiding meniscus damage.

Do not ignore your knee pain!

My first tip is essential: don’t ignore your knee pain. Although this won’t prevent a meniscus injury, it will help keep it from getting worse.

Meniscus tears can cause mild to moderate discomfort, but you will still be able to move. While symptoms may start off mildly at first glance, they could progressively worsen over time.

You may feel tempted to continue your activities and ignore the pain, but this is not recommended if you have a meniscus injury. Doing so puts unnecessary strain on the tissue.

If you are dealing with knee pain and would like some self-care suggestions, please reach out to my office.

  • Warm Up Your Muscles with Dynamic Stretching
  • Begin your warmup by doing some dynamic stretching.

Before and after any exercise or engaging in other sports or activities, it is beneficial to warm up with stretching. Stretching can prevent injuries and reduce muscle soreness after you have finished exercising.

Patients often picture static exercises when we instruct them to stretch their legs. This involves touching their toes against the ground and then holding that position for around 30 seconds.

Dynamic stretching is beneficial for your knees. This involves moving joints and muscles through their full range using controlled, smooth motions.

Strengthen Leg Muscles

Building strong and balanced leg muscles is essential to avoiding meniscus tears in your knee joint. Not only will this reduce pressure on the joint, but it will reduce weight absorption into it due to a stronger meniscus.

Exercise regularly to strengthen these muscles in order to prevent meniscus tears.

  • Quadriceps (front of thigh).
  • Hamstrings (backside of thigh).
  • Abductors (outer Thigh)
  • Adductors (inner leg)

Start slowly and build muscle strength over time. As your muscles become stronger, you can increase repetitions or add weight as necessary to achieve desired results.

Even if your muscles feel sore or stiff the day after exercising, rest is important for recovery. If the following day your muscles are in pain, rest is the best course of action to take for maximum muscle benefit.

Maintain strong hip and buttock muscles

Though you may not think of your hip and butt muscles as being essential in preventing meniscus ruptures, they play an equally significant role when it comes to knee stability.

Your hip joint connects your legs and torso. In order to maintain a straight and aligned knee that bends without twisting, your hip muscles must be strong and balanced. This imbalance could be the cause of meniscus tears in some individuals.

Relax Your Muscles

Exercising can cause microtears in your muscles. It is essential that you allow these microtears time to heal and rest; continuing exercise or training after they have healed could exacerbate the microtears, leading to inflammation which in turn weakens muscles and puts you at greater risk of more serious injuries.