What to Avoid if You Have a Meniscus Injuries
by Rick Kaselj
The knee joint is a complex joint that is often injured. When we think of knee injuries, we often think of anterior cruciate ligament injuries that athletes commonly get. Since most of us are not athletes, a more common injury many of us will face is a meniscus injury. Meniscus injuries can be a result of a fall but often occur over time with wear and tear of the knee joint. Often times it occurs hand and hand with osteoarthritis of the knee.
The menisci are two thickened, wedge-shaped cartilage pads positioned between the shin bone and the thigh bone. Each knee joint consists of two menisci: the medial meniscus, which is positioned on its inner side, and the lateral meniscus, which is located on the knees outer side. The purpose of the meniscus is to disperse force and to be a shock absorber in the knee. If the meniscus are injured, it can lean to pain and swelling of the knee joint. It can make walking and bending the knee very painful.
If you do have a meniscus injury, there are three things you need to remember when exercising in order to prevent irritating or re-injuring the meniscus.
Squat to 90 Degrees
Squats are important as strengthening the muscles in the knee. Strong knee muscles help decrease the stress on the knee and meniscus. If you are doing a squat exercise, make sure not to do a deep squat. A deep squat is when you squat down to a point that is pass 90 degrees at your knee. Performing a deep squat increases the force places on the menisci. If you are in the gym, make sure to limit your squatting to 90 degrees at your knee.
Avoid Narrow Stance leg press
Another excellent exercise to strengthen the legs is the leg press. Just like like squats, it is important to do the leg press in order to keep the muscles strong around the knee. If you do have a new or old meniscus injury, make sure to avoid a narrow stance leg press. Have your feet closer together when doing the leg press leads to great stress on the meniscus.
Do Hip Width Apart Squats
If you are in a group fitness class or bootcamp, do not do squats with your feet wide apart. This wide stance puts great stress on the meniscus. Keep your legs a hip width apart. Having your feet a hip width apart will still lead to strengthening the muscles around your knees but decrease the stress and irriation on your meniscus.
Wrap Up Meniscus and Exercise Tips
We all have old injuries that we need to live with. The last thing we want to do is irriate them or reinjure them. If you have a meniscus injury and exercising regulary, remember to squat to 90 degrees, keep the feet a hip width apart if you are using the leg press and avoid wide stance squats. I hope these tip will keep your meniscus injury pain-free.
Rick Kaselj is a practicing Kinesiologist and specializes in helping clients use exercise to overcome their injuries. To learn more about Rick Kaselj you can check out his exercise and injury blog at http://www.ExercisesForInjuries.com