Knee pain – Meniscal Tear

What is it?

A meniscal tear refers to damage to one of the two C-shaped pieces of cartilage which separate the bones in the knee joint. These cartilages act as shock absorbers within the knee to assist in cushioning forces that transmit through the joint.

Meniscal tears

How does it happen?

The menisci in the knee are most commonly injured when the knee is twisted while weight bearing. This often occurs when changing directions quickly whilst the foot is fixed on the ground. It may also occur if a fellow competitor hits your knee causing it to twist or buckle.

How does it feel?

The first sensation felt when a meniscus is injured is pain within the knee joint. This may be associated with a sensation of something tearing. Depending on the severity of the injury, the knee may swell and you may have difficulty walking due to pain. Swelling may be immediate or occur over a period of hours. The knee may also feel weak and ‘unstable’, and may produce clicking noises, lock or give way.

What should you do for a Meniscal tear?

To limit the severity of this injury it is advised you stop your activity immediately and start initial treatment. The most important time in the treatment of any injury is the first 24-48 hours. Swelling is a necessary step in the healing process; however, too much swelling can delay healing and cause further tissue damage. To control the amount of swelling and limit the degree of damage to the knee, the RICE regime should be commenced (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). This will help to reduce blood flow to the injured area, thereby reducing the extent of swelling and tissue damage.


Rest – ceasing your activity or sport, and limiting the amount of weight you put through your leg. Crutches may be required if you are having difficulty walking.

Ice – applied to the injured site for 15-20 minutes every 1-2 hours. Ideally, it should be applied using crushed ice wrapped in a moist cloth or towel.

Compression – apply a firm elastic bandage around your knee. It should be firm but not tight enough to cause pain.

Elevation – lying with your knee resting comfortably on a chair or pillows so that it is above the level of your heart. You should continue the RICE regime until you consult a physiotherapist, preferably within two days of the initial injury.

What shouldn’t you do?

Following injury to the knee, you shouldn’t undertake activities which increase blood flow to the injured area. These include hot showers, heat rubs and excessive activity. These may increase the bleeding and swelling within the knee and potentially prolong your recovery.

Could there be any long-term effects?

Because the menisci in the knee have a poor blood supply, this means that sometimes when they are injured they are unable to heal completely by themselves. Unfortunaelty a tear can result in ongoing problems depending on the severity of the injury and the location of the tear. These problems include persistent knee swelling, clicking, locking and giving way. To limit these ongoing problems, surgery is often performed to remove the damaged portion of the meniscus. Recovery from surgery normally takes a number of weeks and often requires physiotherapy treatment. If other structures in the knee have been damaged the recovery can be prolonged.


The assistance of a physiotherapist is important in the treatment of a knee injury. Initially they can assist in determining which tissues have been damaged and the extent of this damage. From this, they will be able to determine the most appropriate treatment. This may involve referral to an orthopaedic surgeon or for scans such as MRI, activity modification, demonstration of how to use crutches and strengthening and stretching exercises.

Gold Coast Physiotherapy – Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach Physiotherapy Centres 07 5535 5218


Our Response to Covid-19

This page is up to date to our best knowledge, however, this is a rapidly evolving situation so we apologise for any potential delay in updating this information.

We want to reassure all our patients that we are following stringent infection control procedures in our clinic, and screen all people coming into the clinic, to exclude any patients that have any signs or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, as well as screening any patients that should be in isolation ie recently returned from overseas, or have been advised to isolate due to recent exposure with a known Covid-19 patient.

All our staff have now completed the Department of Health Covid-19 Infection Control Training.

What are we doing to minimise risk?

  • Screening patients for risk factors over the phone or through text messages before they attend appointments. Those with risk factors or symptoms are advised not to attend & to seek medical advice.
  • Hand sanitiser station at the front of the building must be used before you enter.
  • Following stringent infection control measures within the clinic. This includes
    • Disinfecting all beds, door handles, EFTPOS machine before and after each patient use.
    • Linen changed between each patient and commonly touched surfaces through the practice are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
    • Minimising the distances between clients in the waiting room- some chairs are outside undercover.
  • We have advised our team members not to come to work if they have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • We are following all Department of Health recommendations for our type of business.

On the 30th March 2020 – the Australian government issued a statement that “People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.”

The decision to come in for physiotherapy treatment really is an individual one – if you feel that your treatment is medically necessary, and are comfortable with the risks of leaving your home and coming to physiotherapy, then rest assured that when you attend our physiotherapy clinic, we are following our strict infection control processes and doing everything we can to minimise your risk whilst in our care. However, we completely understand if you are not comfortable with coming in for treatment.

TELEHealth Consultations

We are offering telehealth consults and home visits (where suitable) for patients who cannot attend our clinic.

Read more about TELEhealth Consultations here.

Staying Healthy

  • Wash your hands often (and for 20 seconds) with soap and water
  • Cough into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Social distancing practices – Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching, including shaking hands
  • Limit contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick and encourage employees to stay home when sick
  • Get 7-8 hours’ sleep a night to help your immune system stay strong
Please stay safe and take care of each other!

We are monitoring the situation very closely and will make adjustments to our business as we are further informed. Our priority is the health & well being of our patients and our staff. Thanks for your understanding.

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