Be kind to your meniscus

Pain and knee injuries have always been a concern for many runners. There are many runners with meniscal injuries among them. Even a significant number of runners say goodbye to their favorite track forever due to meniscus problems. Today Coach Bigger talks about prevention and rehabilitation of meniscal injuries and how runners can protect their knees.

What is a "meniscus"

Let's first talk about structure of knee: femur (also known as "femur"), tibia and fibula of lower leg, patella (also known as patella), makes up the knee joint.

Between femur and tibia are two large cartilaginous discs called menisci because they resemble half of a curved moon. The meniscus is thicker on outside and thinner on inside, slightly concave on upper side to match femoral condyle, and flat on underside to match tibial plateau. This structure simply causes femoral condyle to form a deep depression on tibial plateau, thereby increasing stability of spherical femoral condyle and tibial plateau.

The meniscusThis is a very important supporting structure in joint, withstanding pressure, damping vibration and ensuring that initially incompatible articular surfaces of bone adapt to each other.

Due to its limited hardness and frequent use, cartilage, especially meniscus, is most vulnerable part of human body.

Causes and symptoms of meniscal injury

What causes a meniscus tear?

Due to structural features of human knee, when leg is bent, soft tissues of knee are in close contact, and lubricating fluid cannot protect knee well. Prolonged exercise causes a lot of friction in knee. , which leads to aging of soft tissues; mountaineering, cycling, Prolonged bending of knee, such as climbing stairs, can lead to soft tissue aging.

Currently, if we don't pay attention to adjusting exercise posture and use wrong exercise posture, such as when knee is bent and lower leg is locked, hip is overextended or meniscus will be torn in internal rotation.

What are symptoms of a meniscal injury?

In an early stage, the tip of patella (i.e., raised area above knee when knee is bent) began to feel sore and uncomfortable, and then there was a constant dull pain. As a rule, pain increases when you start exercising and subsides after it. Pain occurs at tip of patella, which is a sign of a damaged meniscus. Severely ill patients also experience pain at tip of patella when walking at normal times. The patient feels that his knees are getting weaker and weaker, he gets tired easily when walking, so that his shoulders do not rise, his arms do not rise, he cannot walk with heavy loads on his back.

If you have above symptoms and suspected damage to meniscus, it is best to contact a reputable medical institution in time for an examination so as not to delay treatment time.

Prevention of meniscus injuries

Because there is no vascular supply in most areas of meniscus, once it has been damaged, it is difficult to repair it on your own. It can only be restored by braking. Conservative treatment, recovery rate is also very low, so it is very important to prevent damage to meniscus.

Method of muscle strength training

Next, Trainer Bigger will present several practical methods for training muscle strength to prevent meniscus injuries.

1. Crouch against wall

Stand with your back against a wall, move your heels one foot off wall, place a ball (maybe a basketball or soccer ball) between your knees, pinch ball, and slowly crouch along wall until your knees and calves are at a right 90 degree angle, for half a minute to 1 minute, and then slowly straighten body. Since back is pressed against wall, part of body weight is supported, and force on knees is relatively small, so it is safer. Stick to this 2-3 times a day.

2. Sit down

If there is no obvious discomfort after quietly squatting for one minute, you can move on to wall squat exercise. Stand with your back against a wall, move your heels one foot off wall, place a ball (maybe a basketball or soccer ball) between your knees, pinch ball and slowly squat along wall until your knees and calves form a right 90 degree angle, hold for 3 seconds, then stand up slowly. 3 groups per day, group of 20 people.

3. Straight leg raise

Those who cannot do both static squats and squats can do straight leg raises. Lie on bed, straighten your legs, let thigh muscles tighten and straighten and form a 45 degree angle with the bed, hold for 1 second each time and then slowly lower, repeat this 20 times a day. group, 3 groups every day. This method can be a good way to improve quadriceps strength.

4. Lie on your side and raise your legs

Lie on your side on bed, slightly bend your knees at shins, keep your top leg straight, tighten your leg muscles and lift it up and down. 3 groups per day, a group of 20-30 people is suitable.

While strength training is effective in preventing meniscus, it cannot completely prevent running-induced knee pain. In a typical running workout, pay attention to following details, which may be more beneficial for your knees.

1. Warm-up: warm-up should be sufficient before training, do not engage in heavy exercise directly, most common injury occurs when tired or lack of energy.

2. Running posture: pay attention to running posture, do not use only one side of foot to land on ground, in order to avoid knee damage caused by poor posture.

3. Pay attention to use of thigh muscles to avoid direct impact on knees from legs.

4. If symptoms of knee discomfort appear, reduce amount of exercise and frequency of exercise appropriately, and avoid strenuous running, jumping, and exertion.

5. Keep your knees warm during normal times and wear protective gear while exercising.

6. After training, apply heat to leg muscles or massage with traditional Chinese medicine.

7. When training with weights, especially when descending, avoid hitting your knees.

8. Muscle development can reduce pressure on knees under certain circumstances and minimize damage to knees. Usually do more leg exercises to minimize stress on your knees. Consciously strengthen quadriceps (front of thigh) and cruciate ligament exercises, increase strength of internal quadriceps and thigh muscles, combine use of muscle stretching, walking, horse stance or wall exercises, etc. for Paves patella. a way of smooth movement within femur.

9. Before running, rub bottom edge of your knee with fingers of both hands to protect your knee while lubricating.

10. Stretching elongated hamstrings and patellofemoral joint is helpful in reducing likelihood of knee injury and preventing meniscus injury. Strengthening strength of leg muscles is a key factor. Because many injuries occur when physical strength is weak. When hip is tired, joint is unknowingly locked when walking. Joint locking means straightening leg, which can reduce load on thigh muscles and temporarily relax. Your own muscles, but easy to cause knee sprain, knee injury , ankle sprain, ankle sprain and psoas sprain.

For a meniscus injury, main treatment is conservative treatment, rest and immobilization to avoid aggravating injury; if severe pain occurs, it is recommended, on recommendation of a doctor, to take aspirin to reduce pain and inflammation; X-rays show a torn meniscus, and need for exercise may require interventional surgery known as arthroscopic surgery, a popular new surgical procedure that allows a person to regain mobility within a week of surgery.

Of course, I still hope that all runners stick to early strength training method to prevent damage to meniscus and protect our knees. If you want to run a marathon someday, you shouldn't put off your dream because of your knee . pain.

Big Running Academy

Bigger Running Academy—The most professional running training provider in China. The college has most authoritative training system in world RSlab running service agency, it brings together experts in field of Beijing Sports University, teaching running technology, physical training, rehabilitation, medicine . , food, etc. We are committed to protecting health of runners through scientific services and creating safety for experienced runners!

May 15, 2023