A 47-year-old male presents with an acute left knee injury from rotational standing up movement from a seated position at lunch. He felt immediate pain in the medial side of his knee and reports a locking sensation when attempting to straighten his knee. What can physiotherapy do to help.


Clinical Examination

The patient was unable to weight bear on his left leg as he could not straighten his left knee due to pain and catching sensation. During passive range of motion movements, his knee could be flexed to full range, however was painful at end of range and when moving leg back into extension. Passive patella movement did not reproduce his symptoms, though symptoms reproduced upon palpation of medial border of knee cap and medial knee joint. No swelling was evident at time of review, however this is expected in the acuteness of his injury.

His mechanism of injury and clinical presentation indicate an acute torn flap of his medical meniscus.



Small meniscal tears can be managed conservatively if a person’s range of motion is not greatly affected, have minimal swelling and are able weight bear. The first phase of conservative management of an acute meniscal tear includes maintaining knee extension range of motion and providing stability to the knee to reduce any risk of further injury. Small amplitudes of passive accessory movements were undertaken in attempt to normalise joint range of motion. He was provided with education regarding the importance in maintaining knee extension and encouraged to undertake light knee extension stretching techniques to aid in this. Kinesiology tape was used to strap his knee to promote healing, support, reduce swelling and assist in pain reduction. The patient responded well with dry needling to his hamstrings and calf muscles which assisted in off-loading the knee joint from muscle tightness. Following the initial treatment, the patient had a reduction in pain symptoms and ability to weight bear as tolerated through left leg.

Over the next two to three weeks, the focus was to eliminate swelling and achieve full range of motion and focus on hamstring and quadriceps strength. Through the completing all home strengthening and stretching exercise program, this patient improved well and could obtain full range of knee extension with a reduction of pain and an increase of muscle strength. He was provided with full range squats and lunges as a progression to his hamstring and quadriceps strengthening exercises with added endurance training program for his hip external rotators. After another few weeks, he could return to his home-based fitness program and work schedule without any issues.


If you have any questions regarding your knees or are interested in seeing if we can help you, please give us a call at (02) 8411 2050. Here at Thornleigh Performance Physiotherapy, we can give you an accurate diagnosis and treatment, to help you get back in action as soon as possible. We are conveniently located near Beecroft, Cherrybrook, Hornsby, Normanhurst, Pennant Hills, Waitara, Wahroonga, Westleigh, West Pennant Hills, and West Pymble.