You might think that crouching momentarily can't possibly leave you seriously injured, but it can. When you crouch or squat, it puts pressure and strain on your knees. If you have poor posture or lose your balance while crouched, it can cause a particular portion of your knee's cartilage called the meniscus to tear, which can be painful and cause mobility problems.
Each one of your knees has two pieces of meniscus cartilage, which help to cushion and prevent the thigh and shinbone from rubbing against each other. The meniscus flexes when you bend your knee, but it can only flex so far before it starts to tear. The idea of part of your body tearing may seem strange, but think about it this way: a "pulled" muscle is actually a nice name for a muscle tear. Just imagine that it's your cartilage that "pulled," not your muscles.
The Level Of Damage
The severity of the tear determines what the symptoms and treatment options are. There are three general levels of meniscus tears: minor, moderate, and severe.
Minor meniscus tears may cause minor swelling and discomfort, and you may temporarily lose your full range of motion in the knee. This level of tear will heal on its own, if you treat it gently and avoid stressing the joint. Try to walk on it as little as possible, elevate the leg to reduce swelling, and ice it to reduce pain and swelling. If you don't notice an improvement after a couple days, you may have a more serious tear.
Moderate meniscus tears will have a more noticeable loss of range of mobility in the knee. The slight bending your knee can normally perform to walk will be painful and you may feel like your knee is going to collapse under you. If you're experiencing these symptoms, you should definitely visit your doctor. If it's a moderate tear, your doctor may suggest physical therapy to regain full mobility in the limb. They'll physically examine your knee and may take X-rays or ultrasounds to determine if it's a moderate or severe tear.
Severe tears may feel excruciatingly painful and your knee may not be able to take any weight at all. If you're in serious pain or have these problems, get to a doctor immediately. In severe tears, surgery is usually required to repair the damage, followed by physical therapy. Physical therapy helps to strengthen the joint, improves circulation, and may reduce your risk of blood clots.
Meniscus tears are a common injury for athletes and non-athletes alike, and the prognosis is dependent upon the severity of the tear. If you're experiencing symptoms of a tear and don't feel relief within a few days, you should see a doctor. For more information, look at sites like http://www.parkavetrauma.com.