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Richard asked...

Tags: bones , exercise , injury , joint , sports

X-Ray and MRI show I have a meniscus tear on the inside of my right knee joint, with some bone deterioration but not yet serious enough to think about surgery. I have some pain and swelling above the knee when in use. Do you have recommended exercises/diet (I am not overweight) that can be used to ease the situation and extend the use of the knee without too much further degradation. Also anything I should avoid doing?

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The Answer

There are two different protective structures within the knee that are commonly referred to as cartilage, one being the protective pads called the meniscus and the other a tough covering of the end of the bones called 'articular cartilage'. If a meniscus becomes damaged through injury or just wear, then some of the protective properties are lost which can then lead to arthritic changes to the bony surfaces within the knee joint. If the knee joint isn't locking (sudden painful inability to bend or straighten the knee), then it is probably best to avoid surgically removing parts of the torn meniscus.  

The most beneficial thing that you can do is to keep the muscles around the knee strong which will stabilise the joint and help reduce pain and the chances of further damage. Non weight bearing exercises such as straight leg raises and resisted extension/flexion will work the quadriceps and hamstrings. It would be best to have a physiotherapist show you the correct techniques. Cycling is also an excellent way of improving knee function but make sure you get your saddle height and foot pedal position right to avoid unnecessary strain on the knee joint.
 
Answered by Dr A Wright.

 

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