A meniscus tear is a common knee injury brought about by twisting or rotating the knee forcefully. The knees have two menisci each. These are cartilage in the shape of the letter C and cushion the area between the shin and thigh bone. When it tears, it results in pain as well as swelling, and you might get the feeling of a collapse of the knee.
Suddenly stopping or turning, kneeling, lifting something quite heavy are all causes that could lead to this injury. In older people, the knee degenerates and leads to this condition. Athletes performing pivoting or twisting activities are more prone to the injury, especially in games such as tennis, basketball, football and so on.
A meniscus tear is usually caused by twisting or turning quickly, often with the foot planted while the knee is bent. These tears can occur when you lift something heavy or play sports. As you get older, your meniscus gets worn. This can make it tear more easily.
Where a meniscus tear occurs is one of the most important factors in healing. Tears at the outer edge (red zone) tend to heal well because there is a good blood supply. The inner area (white zone) lacks a good blood supply and therefore does not heal well. The type of tear often determines whether a tear can be repaired.
Here are the following symptoms you will experience from a meniscus tear:
• Knee pain
• Swelling of the knee
• Tenderness when pressing on the meniscus
• Popping or clicking within the knee
• Limited motion of the knee joint
The common or traditional treatment for Meniscus injury is to use ice on the area and allow the injury to heal on its own. However, in severe cases, you need to go to the doctor for surgical repair. You need to get it completely diagnosed. The doctor usually tries out different positioning of the knees, in order to pinpoint the problem. Imaging tests, such as x-rays and ultra sound can also be used for identifying the condition of Meniscus injury.
The meniscus is a cartilage and will not be seen in x-rays, but other conditions of the knee can be ruled out. An MRI can also be done to produce detailed images of the tissues inside the knee. Arthroscopy is also used by inserting the arthoscope and viewing the image and then inserting surgical instruments for treatment. Surgery is usually the last treatment option. This consists of repairing the meniscus that is torn or just trimming it. Surgery can be done using an arthroscope by making an incision in the knee.
The doctor usually begins by advising you to rest the knee and avoiding all activities that can aggravate the condition of the Meniscus injury. You could also use crutches to take off the pressure from the knees. Ice can be used to minimize the swelling. There are also many over the counter medicines for relieving the pain and swelling.
Therapy can help to make the muscles around the area stronger and provide support to the injured area. You can use shoe inserts or arch supports to distribute the weight more evenly around the knees. After any kind of treatment or surgery, it is important to do the exercises recommended for improving the knee strength and making it stable again. Whenever taking part in any sports, it is advisable to use the proper foot accessories and wear protective gear for the area.
Beware your knee may swell, causing it to feel stiff and tight. The knee joint can also lock up if the tear is large enough. This happens when a fragment of the meniscus tears gets caught in the hinge mechanism of the knee. A torn meniscus can cause long-term problems. Knee osteoarthritis may develop due to the continued rubbing of the torn meniscus on the articular cartilage.
Treatment varies depending on the extent and location of the meniscus tear. Give us a call today and make an appointment to have an early diagnosis. If there is a large meniscus tear, arthroscopic surgery would be required to repair the tear.