Tom Willemann Health Tips

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Mending Your Torn Meniscus

ptd0714-leadThe menisci are cartilages in the knee that protect the joint from stresses of activity. Pivoting actions that cause the knee to twist pose a risk for meniscus tears. The injury is common among tennis players, but it can also result from deep knee bending, squatting or lifting a heavy object.
If you have torn a meniscus, you may remember the moment of injury. There may have been a popping sound and immediate onset of pain, followed by swelling or stiffness, and difficulty moving or fully straightening your knee. Knee instability and persistent knee pain may also result. If, after a physical examination, your physician suspects a torn meniscus, he or she may order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of a torn meniscus depends on the severity and location of the tear. If your physician has suggested physical rehabilitation, your meniscus tear may be small or located on the outer edge of the cartilage where there is a good blood supply to the injured area. Nonsurgical interventions include

  • RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)


  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), if your physician prescribes, to provide pain relief and reduce swelling


  • therapeutic exercises to strengthen muscles around the knee and in your legsthat will provide stability and increase support to the knee joint

We may also suggest orthotics for your footwear that help distribute force more evenly around the knee and decrease excessive stress to certain parts of the joint. And because excessive body weight can aggravate a knee injury, we can design a weight reduction diet for you, if needed.
In some cases, the meniscus tear may be too severe for conservative treatment, and surgery may be recommended to either repair the tear or remove the damaged cartilage. In that event, a rehabilitation program followed for four to six weeks afterward can promote healing and strengthen the knee, protecting against future injury. A return to normal activity depends upon your willingness to work hard with us and to continue that work after your formal therapy has been complete

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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