What Is a Meniscus Tear?
The meniscus is a thin and tiny structure made of cartilage that works as a cushion between the knee bones -the tibia and the femur. A meniscus tear occurs after a sudden impact or twist of the knee. This condition is one of the most common types of knee injuries and usually affects athletes and older people.
Meniscus Tears Common Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms related to meniscus tears usually appear right after the injury and can become worse over time, these include:
- Pain, related to the rotation movements of the knee.
- Swelling and popping sensation.
- Locked knee sensation while trying to move your knee.
- Difficult to walk.
Meniscus Tears Common Causes
A meniscus tear usually occurs as the result of any activity that causes you to suddenly twist or rotate your knee, such as an abrupt stop or rapidly changing direction while running. This condition is commonly seen in athletes that practice contact sports like football, tennis, and basketball. A meniscus tear can also occur in older people, as the result of degenerative changes of the knee.
Meniscus Tears Treatment
Depending on your age, clinical situation, and the size and location of your meniscus tear, your doctor will decide which is the best treatment option for you, either conservative or surgical. However, most cases of meniscus tears receive conservative treatment at the beginning.
- Resting. Your doctor will suggest to stay at home for some days and avoid activities that aggravate your knee pain and injury.
- Local cold. In order to help your body healing faster and reducing the knee pain and swelling, you can use local cold packs for about 15 minutes at a time, while keeping your knee elevated, every 4 to 6 hours for a couple of days.
- Medication. Pain killers can help you to relieve the pain and to reduce the swelling.
Minimally Invasive Arthroscopic Surgery / Keyhole Surgery
In case your knee remains painful and you have difficulty to walk, despite following the treatment properly, or if your meniscus tear injury is severe from the begging, your doctor might recommend surgery.
Depending on your case and type of lesion, your doctor might try to repair your meniscus or will surgically trim them instead, by using an arthroscope technique. This procedure involves making some tiny incisions around your knee to use a camera and some surgical instruments with minimal invasion of the area to repair the damage.
Our goal is always to preserve tissue where possible.
Recovery Period and Physical Therapy
In case you received a conservative treatment or a surgical one instead, physical therapy is a very important pillar for a proper and full recovery of your injury. The physical therapist will teach you some exercises to strengthen the muscles around your knee, in order to help you to stabilize and support your weight.