How to Jump Rope to Strengthen the Meniscus
Your meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage in your knee that acts as a shock absorber between the femur and tibia. When your meniscus is torn -- which is common in sports where your knee may perform a twist while supporting your entire body weight -- the only cure is usually surgery, although a tear to the outer portion of the meniscus can heal itself over time. Rehabilitation of the knee generally includes physical therapy and exercises designed to strengthen the quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles that surround the joint. Jumping rope is an effective way to restore strength, flexibility and range of motion in the late stages of physical recovery.
Stand upright with your body weight balanced on the balls of your feet and your knees slightly bent. Hold one end of a jump rope in each hand, with the bottom of the rope resting on the floor behind your feet.
Spin the jump rope upward behind your head by rotating your wrists in a circular back-to-front motion. As the rope passes overhead and arches down to your feet, make a small jump of no more than 2 to 3 inches to allow the rope to pass under your feet. Higher jumps may put too much stress on the cartilage in your knee.
Rotate your shoulders in a back-to-front circular motion to keep the rope spinning around you. Continue jumping each time the rope nears your feet, keeping your knees slightly bent. Establish a slow and steady rhythm, taking breaks if necessary.
Test your meniscus during a break by gently bending your knee. If you feel any sort of pain, stop jumping rope. Consult your doctor or physical therapist for advice on finding a gentler rehabilitative exercise.
Use a soft, yielding surface to jump on such as a rubber or foam pad. Surfaces that have no "give," such as concrete or asphalt, can put too much strain on your injured meniscus.
Jumping rope is generally only used in the later stages of physical therapy for a torn meniscus, after the torn cartilage has either healed itself or been surgically repaired. Performing this exercise before the healing process is ready can aggravate the injury.
Todd Maternowski began writing in 1996 as one of the co-founders of "The Chicago Criterion." He joined the local online news revolutionaries at Pegasus News in 2006, where he continues to work to this day. He studied religion at the University of Chicago.