In my years of teaching Pilates, I have come across clients with knee pain. Knee pain affects both males and females, and they can be as young as in their thirties.
One cause of knee pain is meniscus tear.
Here is a simple illustration of the knee joint.
The knee joint joins the thigh bone to the lower leg. The knee is a very important joint in the body and is essential for daily movements – walking, running and sporting activities.
For a joint to work well – the joint surfaces have to slide easily over each other. The knee joint has 2 cartilages, the lateral meniscus and medial meniscus that protect the ends of the bones from rubbing on each other and enable smooth gliding.
The meniscus can tear due to trauma and/or degeneration and one of the potential causes is knee misalignment, due to faulty biomechanics (definition: mechanics of biological and especially muscular activity) in our daily movements, for example over pronation of the foot, which happens during walking and/or running.
Over pronation is often harmless but it can cause pain and injury to other parts of the body, including the knee.
Over pronation causes the lower leg to rotate inwards, thus putting abnormal stress on the knee joint – resulting in poor knee function – leading to excessive wear and tear of the meniscus.
According to one report, over pronation is fairly common and occurs in half of the running population.
Apart from over pronation, potential causes of meniscus tear may include:
- hyperextension of the knee
- bow legged
- knocked knees
- repetitive or sustained weight bearing or deep knee bends (e.g. weight lifting)
- repetitive rotational stress (e.g playing tennis)
When a client has a meniscus tear, he/she is likely to complain of knee pain and swelling. Pain is exacerbated when the knee bears more weight (e.g. when running or deep knee bends). Client may also have pain at night.