Fitness Magazine

Friday Q&A: Swollen Knees (and Meniscus Tears)

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
After Shari’s recent post about her swollen knee (see Yoga and Pain Management), a reader left this question for her in the comments section. We like to answer these questions on Fridays, just in case there are other readers out there who might be interested in the discussion. For all you new readers, feel free to ask questions about yoga as comments on any post, even  older posts. or to email me via the Contact Us tab at the top of the page. We're keeping track of all questions and will answer them all eventually! —Nina
Q: Re: your swollen knee - can I use these poses for someone with a meniscus tear? I have been avoiding balasana, but am wondering whether cat/cow is okay as the weight is split between 4 points of the hands and knees. Would be grateful for any other useful pointers.
A: With a meniscal tear, there will range of motion loss, especially in flexion (bending the knee). Extension (straightening) can also sometimes have a slight loss of range of motion. That said, any pose that doesn't cause swelling afterward is okay. Pain may or may not be the limiting factor but swelling definitely is. As to specific poses like Balasana (Child’s pose), if you have pain, use a prop, like a block or a bolster, to limit the knee flexion. Cat-Cow pose is certainly a weight-bearing pose through the patella (kneecap), but that may or may not be a factor. You’ll have to try it and see what happens. Using padding under the knees would be helpful. Definitely avoid knee movements that involve rotation, as it will cause pain and swelling.
—Shari

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