What Is a Lateral Meniscus Injury?
The lateral meniscus is a structure of the knee, located in the lateral portion of the joint, which is responsible for the absorption and support of the weight of your body and for the reproduction of some movements of the knee. A lateral meniscus injury involves the rupture of the meniscus, due to direct trauma or a sudden twist of the knee. This condition is not as much common as medial meniscus injury, due to its anatomical different disposition.
Lateral Meniscus Injury Common Signs and Symptoms
Lateral meniscus injury is a condition that can be noted within hours after the trauma or even some days after the injury. Some of the signs and symptoms include:
- Pain, especially related to the knee movement.
- Knee instability.
- Inability to straighten the knee.
- Locked knee sensation while trying to move your knee.
- Stiffness sensation, which increases over the days.
Lateral Meniscus Injury Common Causes
A lateral meniscus injury usually occurs when the knee is suddenly twisted or rotated outside of your body, while having your foot on the floor, causing the rupture of the thin meniscus tissue in your knee joint. This condition is commonly seen in athletes who practice some sports like football, tennis, rugby, and basketball.
Lateral Meniscus Injury Treatment
Lateral meniscus has a higher capacity of healing than medial meniscus, which makes treatment less aggressive in some cases. The type of surgery you will require depends on the type of injury you have, your age and your clinical background.
In case you are young and have a healthy remaining tissue, your doctor will perform a meniscus repair through some sutures, in order to conserve your meniscus and avoid some serious complications in the future. Preserving a much tissue as possible is a key aim for us.
Some other more severe cases require a more aggressive surgery type, that involves the removal of the injured portion of the meniscus, a procedure known as partial lateral meniscectomy. Unfortunately, this procedure is associated with common complications like osteoarthritis in the incoming years.
Recovery Period and Physical Therapy
The most important part of the treatment after surgery is physical therapy, which should be initiated as soon as possible, even the day after surgery. Physical therapy is centered on reactivating the muscles around your knee, in order to have a better movement and weight support. After surgery, doctors recommend avoiding any impact activity until a minimum of 6 weeks.