Torn Meniscus Pain & Lower Leg/Foot Pain
Is a Torn Meniscus Painful?
First and foremost, it should be stated that a torn meniscus can be very painful but this is not always the case. Torn Meniscus pain is usually felt within the knee joint; this pain is often accompanied by swelling, stiffness and difficulty in bending or straightening the knee. Pain severity will depend on where the tear occurred as well as the size of the tear. The pain signature varies significantly, with some people experiencing a sharp pain when the tear happens while others might just feel a dull pain or ache in the knee that continues to get worse over time. If you suspect you have experienced a meniscus tear, it is very important to get to your physician, as delaying prognosis and treatment will often lead to further complications and a longer duration of pain. Read more about what a torn meniscus feels like.
Can Torn Meniscus Cause Ankle Pain?
Yes, ankle pain is often caused by a change in body mechanics due to knee inflexibility caused by a torn meniscus. In many cases, the sufferer extends and contracts the ankle joint more than usual to compensate for the lack of movement in the knee. To understand more about overcompensation pain, please read Overcompensation Pain Due To Meniscus Pain and Knee Inflexibility" This inflexibility could be caused by inflammation, pain (sharp, dull or a pinching sensation), muscle tightness, a feeling of instability or any combination thereof.
Can Torn Meniscus Cause Foot Pain?
Yes, just like the ankle pain issue, foot pain is easily caused by a change in body mechanics due to knee inflexibility from a torn meniscus. When dealing with a stiff knee, it is common for the sufferer to put excess weight on the foot while extending and contracting the ankle joint more than usual to compensate for the lack of movement in the knee. To understand more about overcompensation pain, please read Overcompensation Pain Due To Meniscus Pain and Knee Inflexibility" This inflexibility could be caused by inflammation, pain (sharp, dull or a pinching sensation), muscle tightness, a feeling of instability or any combination thereof.
Can Torn Meniscus Cause Plantar Fasciitis?
The short answer is, yes, absolutely. But first, lets talk a bit about the plantar fascia and its typical function in the foot.
When you wear flip flops or another type of shoe without support on the heel, you might sense at times you are experiencing a lot of stress on a ligament across the bottom of your foot. This is known as the plantar ligament and it is a very strong brace across the base of the foot that can allow you, for example to stand on your toes with your heel in the air. Without the plantar fascia, you could not do this. As you can imagine, the plantar fascia is very strong; it is literally capable of handling your FULL body weight to keep you on your toes. Generally speaking, standing on your toes without heel support does not happen for extended durations - perhaps an exception or two being ballet or wearing some very high-heeled shoes (both are common causes of plantar fasciitis by the way).
Ballet dancers train for years to strengthen their feet to get to the point where they are capable of keeping their full weight on their toes for extended periods of time. However, if someone that has recently torn their meniscus and decides that the best way to continue moving on their feet (perhaps just to get to the kitchen or climb up a few stairs) is to walk on the ball of their foot (not uncommon with a torn meniscus), they will quickly find that the added stress on the calf and plantar can cause a secondary injury. If you have a torn meniscus, try and prevent this - use crutches or a cane to try and prevent overcompensation injury. To understand more about overcompensation pain, please read Overcompensation Pain Due To Meniscus Pain and Knee Inflexibility"
Can Torn Meniscus Cause Calf Pain?
Yes - much like ankle pain and plantar fasciities, it is not uncommon for the sufferer to extends and contract the calf muscle more than usual to compensate for the lack of movement in the knee. To understand more about overcompensation pain, please read Overcompensation Pain Due To Meniscus Pain and Knee Inflexibility" This inflexibility could be caused by inflammation, pain (sharp, dull or a pinching sensation), muscle tightness, a feeling of instability or any combination thereof.
Overcompensation Pain Due To Meniscus Pain and Knee Inflexibility
Since you are reading this, you probably know that serious knee injuries do not just disappear. Over time, they usually wreak havoc on your body - usually your hips, feet and ankles, due to lack of movement and over-compensation. Recovery takes a longer time for such chronic (long term) injuries, but proper healing is essential to regain strength and get you back to the activities you enjoy.
If you are suffering from a meniscus tear, you are likely very aware that you are having difficulty flexing your knee like you did before the injury. Every time you move the knee, damaged and swollen tendons and muscle tissue move; when they are inflamed, every movement hurts. With injured tissue, pain happens - sometimes a LOT of pain, so we try not to move it. So, when doing something we need to use our knee for (walking, driving, climbing stairs), we start to rely on other joints in the body to compensate for the lack of movement in the knee. If we can, we use our other knee instead - even though it is inconvenient.
Muscle imbalances result, placing tension on bone and softer tissues - leading to a misalignment within the hips and increased extension of the calf muscle, achilles and even the plantar fascia (a strong ligament that runs from the bottom of your heel out toward your toes. The extra stress on the opposite side of the body will also result in weakness and fatigue of knee soft tissue - increasing the chances they will eventually be injured or gradually degenerate. This is a typical example of how serious pain will generate more soft tissue injury, and it is termed "overcompensation injury". When it comes to a torn meniscus, it is common for sufferers to use their lower leg and feet to make up for the lack of flexibility in the knee (ie. standing on your toes); when considering the amount of weight that the knee handles, it should be clear to the readers that overcompensating for a torn meniscus will quickly result in muscle/tissue pain in other areas. The calf, achilles and plantar fascia will typically have to bear the increased load and extend/contact beyond their normal range - this will likely result in calf muscle strain/muscle tightness at the least. If you are not careful, a painful condition known as plantar fasciitis might flare up, leaving the sufferer even more immobile than before. In some cases, physical therapists warn that overcompensation can be very dangerous as it will affect gait or alignment on a permanent basis.
When you experience pain in areas of the body due to a change in body mechanics that is driven from your torn meniscus, this is something called "overcompensation" pain
Increased extensibility and flexibilty in soft tissue means it is less likely to strain or tear further during activity, and less re-injury during this period means less setbacks during healing. Less re-injury helps minimize the build up of scar tissue around the tendon during the healing process, while also reducing the risk and severity of overcompensation pain and secondary injuries. Basically, the value of a faster recovery is often underestimated, as the impact of chronic injuries can quickly spiral out of control. A Torn Meniscus can easily lead to straining in other areas, making an overall recovery hard to initiate. The longer the injury (and corresponding pain) persists, the greater the chance that you will sustain more strain from overcompensation, eventually leading to issues in those areas as well.
Truly, a meniscus tear can initiate a vicious cycle of recurring soft tissue injury - both in the knee and other joints (due to overcompensation). This is why it is absolutely critical to focus on maintaing healthy, flexible soft tissue in both knees as well as other joints affected directly by overcompensation (hip, opposite knee, ankles, plantar). The more your knee soft tissue stays healthy, the less chance you have of sinking into a downward spiral of re-injury, atrophy, scar tissue growth and overcompensation injuries.
Everything in the human body is connected. Knee pain can lead to other injuries over time if not treated properly. For example, one or even both of your knees may start seriously hurting due to a change in your gait. On-going pain in this area could potentially result in knee strain, pulled calf muscles or achilles tendonitis. When you experience pain in areas of the body due to a change in body mechanics that is driven from your back pain or hip pain, this is something called "over compensation" pain.
It can be difficult when you have to carry on with daily activities, but resting and elevating your foot whenever you can is recommended. During your recovery you will probably have to modify or avoid the activities that put stress on your Calf & lower leg until your pain and inflammation settle. Without an appropriate amount of rest you are at risk for increased swelling, pain and further injury of the hamstring muscles and tendons. However, too much rest can also be harmful as joint immobility can actually cause stiffening, overcompensation and atrophy (shortening & wasting away of soft tissue). This is why rest should be used when reducing initial pain and swelling, but should not be considered for more long-term conservative treatment.
Scar tissue is one of the MAIN reasons why a chronic injury has not healed and your Range of Motion (ROM) is reduced from what it once was.
Scar tissue will form fast to deal with a soft tissue strain, and this scar tissue will attach to EVERYTHING in the area, including the surrounding healthy tissue as well. This can result in a fusing together of soft tissue that shouldn't be fused together, and this will cause extreme pain when you move the area - it is literally ripping scar tissue. This is why PT is often painful - the therapist stretches the joint, forcing the scar tissue bonds to break so you can regain your range of motion.
The longer your injury endures, the greater the risk of running into serious overcompensation injuries.
Key Points To Keep in Mind When Treating Your Knee Injury
Make Sure That Complete Healing is Your #1 Goal
We all know that if the injury was healed, the pain would go away but what about the opposite situation? If the pain is gone, does that mean the injury is better? Unfortunately, this is not always true.
Too many people only focus on suppressing pain symptoms while providing less attention to the true healing aspects of the body. Experiencing less pain, while obviously a good short-term goal, never equates to underlying healing. Scar tissue can remain for months after one gets to a point of being relatively pain-free. However, as long the weak and brittle scar tissue remains, you are susceptible to re-injury or re-aggravation. Certain motions or movements can cause the weaker tissue to easily tear - resulting in some reversal of the recovery up until that point.
This is why we recommend for people to continue with their doctor or therapist recommended exercises and to continue with mild treatments of the TShellz Wrap® for a period of time - to better ensure complete healing.
Ongoing treatments to enhance circulation will soothe, relax and help promote a healthy recovery of damaged knee muscles and tendons. Knee T•Shellz treatments will also allow your soft tissue to extend further due to the deep warming sensation created by the enhanced circulation to the treatment area. The more extensible your tissues are, the less likely they are to strain or sprain.
The Knee TShellz Wrap® is intended to be highly effective medical device for people suffering from bursitis or other soft tissue knee injuries - such as a tear in your muscle, tendon or other soft tissue, strain, Tendonitis, tendinopathy, tendinosis, impingements, instability, knee spasms, bursitis, capsulitis, pain associated with trigger points, scar tissue, and arthritis.
A huge number of people who contact us about knee pain are unsure about the true causes of their discomfort. It is an amazing statistic and really goes to show how important it is to get a proper diagnosis from your physician. To really deal with a injury, you have to know the injury is - so get to the doctor and find out.
Resting Your Knee Will Help, But Only Temporarily
People tell us all the time, "I was told that if I stay off my feet for a few weeks, my knee pain will disappear for good."
The truth is, knee pain is usually a culmination of numerous factors, which often include repetitive stress, high load issues due to excess weight, and/or overcompensation issues resulting from other muscle and soft tissue ailments.
It may take weeks or months for these knee pain triggers to surface, but when they do, merely resting will not solve the underlying issues. You need to utilize options that actually treat the source of the pain and help reverse the damage that has been done.
Resting has a role to play, but it is only one small factor in a recovery plan.
Identify What is Causing Your Knee Problem & Fix It
Otherwise, It May Come Back
In order to provide long lasting relief from your knee pain, you need to identify all the factors that are contributing to it. These factors can include muscle imbalances, short leg syndrome, herniated discs, trauma and tightness to surrounding muscle and soft tissue, etc. The list is certainly significant and it can be frustrating for people who may have no idea where to begin. This is one of many reasons why you should always get to a physician and , in some cases, a specialist to identify the source of your problem.
Conservative Treatment Tools Our Clients Have Used to Help Limit Damage & Boost The Body's Soft Tissue Repair Process to the Knee at Home:
- A Cold Compress or Ice Pack to reduce inflammation wherever there is pain and/or swelling (as soon as possible).
- A Knee TShellz Wrap to increase blood-flow to the knee area (a Localized Enhanced Circulatory Response® Treatment).
- MendMeShop Arnica Pain Cream for temporary relief of pain due to sore muscles and joints.
- A High Quality Knee Pillow if you are experiencing discomfort when resting or trying to sleep (or you want .
- A Knee Compression Support Sleeve for light tendon/muscle support and risk reduction of further injury.
- An Exercise & Stretching Plan to prevent muscle atrophy and shortened tendons in the Knee joint. A proper plan will increase elasticity and strengthen the muscles and tendons in the hip, knee, and ankle.
Conservative treatment tools just like these have been used successfully by thousands of knee injury sufferers - just like you.
TShellz Wrap® = Enhanced Blood Flow in the Treatment Area
We believe the use of TShellz Wraps® for boosting blood flow to soft tissue in the area of application is one of the most under-utilized home treatment options available on the market today. We have client after client that have tried many options out there and have been amazed at how effective and fast the TShellz Wrap treatment helped relieve their pain while increasing blood flow in the knee.
With regular use of the Knee TShellz Wrap:
- Your pain will be reduced*.
- Due to increased blood flow, soft tissue in the treatment area on the knee will be expected to recover at an accelerated rate with reduced potential for re-injury*.
- Tissue in the treated area should experience a larger range of motion and increased extensibility of collagen tissue* due to the heat effect on soft tissue. This should translate into a reduced rate of re-injury occurrence as soft tissue is known to lengthen and become more flexible when exposed to warm temperature. (*Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition.
(amazon.com link - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)
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During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!