Meniscal Tear



6 wks


What is a meniscal tear?

The meniscus is like a cartilage shock-absorber between your thigh bone and shin bone. There are two main types of problem. 1 – an acute tear – injury – usually twisting – pain and swelling pretty much straight away. Sometimes feels like its ‘stuck’ or ‘locked’. 2 – a wear tear – more of a long process (sometimes with the extra help of a catalyst that makes it sore). This can be compared to wrinkles – we all get them, they’re pretty normal and some of them look worse than others. There are lots of types of meniscal tears, the trickier ones are called funny names: bucket handle (looks like the name), parrot beak (also looks like the name) and cleavage tear (insert joke here).

Why do meniscal tears happen?

Mostly like this: foot anchored on ground, thigh bone twisting, shin bone staying still = possible meniscal injury. If it’s more of the slow process meniscal issue it can be due to a thousand factors. Big ones are: weight gain, inactivity, knee injuries in the past, unstable ligaments (like your cruciate) and age.

What can you do about a meniscal tear?
Meniscal Tear Physiotherapy in Newcastle.

 1. Weight bear if you can. If your pain is manageable and it doesn’t feel like a cooked noodle standing on the sore leg – walk. It’s better for the body to have some pressure on it so the muscles work. If it’s too sore and too swollen. Rest it. But not too long!
2. Get on your bike. As soon as possible start gentle cycling. It really helps the knee move without too much pressure and also helps your thigh muscle work which is a big old help.
3. Tape it up. Get your physio to trial some support from tape – it may mean you can do a bit more with it so you’re not abandoning your muscles as easily.
4. Surgery. The younger you are, the more likely you’ll need surgery. As we age (not you obviously!) the meniscus can thin out a bit and wearing in this way doesn’t usually respond well to surgery. Physio (good physio) is the go-to.

How long will a meniscal tear take?

Depending on the type of tear, 4-6 weeks normally sees some decent progress. If it isn’t progressing at 6 wks, we would suggest an MRI scan to get some more intel and possibly a good knee doc to take a look at whether there are any other options for management (like chopping the leg off).


You can’t see meniscus on an xray. Or ultrasound for that matter. MRI scans are helpful but be careful with the big dose of Latin words in the report. Sometimes it can sound a lot worse than it actually is. Lots of folks have meniscal tears and NO PAIN. Also, make sure it’s just cartilage. If you have any concerns that it might be an ACL or a different ligament injury – make sure you check in with your physio.

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If pain persists, you may require the help of a professional physio. Contact Brightside Physio to make an appointment.


Brightside Physio
90 Elder St
Lambton (Newcastle)
NSW 2299

New location!
15 Lambton Rd
Broadmeadow (Newcastle)
NSW 2292



Find parking via De Vitre Street and walk down side alley to Elder Street entrance.



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