Like a lot of knee injuries, a meniscus tear is often painful and debilitating. Unfortunately, it’s quite common. In fact, a meniscal tear is one of the foremost frequently occurring cartilage injuries of the knee.
So what is the meniscus? It’s a piece of cartilage in your knee that cushions and stabilizes the joint of your body. It protects the bones from wear and tear so it makes the odds less for an injury. But all it takes maybe a good twist of the knee to tear the meniscus. In some cases, a bit of the shredded cartilage breaks loose and catches within the knee, causing it to lock up.
Meniscus tears are common in touch sports like football also in noncontact sports requiring jumping and cutting like volleyball and soccer. They can happen when an individual changes direction suddenly while running, and sometimes occur at an equivalent time as other knee injuries, like an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
Meniscus tears are a special risk for older athletes since the meniscus weakens with age and since older Athletes are normally unfit it increases the odds of them getting meniscus knee injury. More than 40% of individuals 65 or older have them.
Introduction to the knee
The knee is the largest joint that exists in the human body. The knee allows the leg to bend where the thigh bone attaches to the shinbone. The knee flexes and extends itself, allowing the body to perform many activities such as walking, running, playing sports, and squatting. There are many types of structures that surround the knee and allow it to bend and protect the joint of the knee from injury.
The quadriceps and hamstring muscles are responsible for moving the knee joint. When the quadriceps muscles that are located in front of the thighs contract, the knee extends or straightens up. The hamstring muscles, located on the rear of the thigh, are liable for flexing or bending the knee. These muscles are very important in protecting the knee from being injured by acting to make the knee stable and preventing it from being pushed in directions that it is not mean to go naturally.
Four ligaments also stabilize the knee at rest and through movement: the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL, LCL) and therefore the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL, PCL).
Cartilage within the joint provides the cushioning to guard the bones against the routine stresses of walking, running, and climbing. The medial and lateral meniscus are two thicker wedge-shaped pads of cartilage attached to the top of the tibia (shin bone), called the tibial plateau of the knee. Each meniscus is curved like a C-shape, with the front part of the cartilage called the anterior horn and therefore the back part called the posterior horn of the body.
There is also articular cartilage that lines the joint surfaces of the bones within the knee of our legs of the body, including the tibia, femur, and kneecap (patella) of the body. The terminology was torn knee cartilage refers to wreck to at least one of the C-shaped menisci of the knee between the femur and tibia.
As with any injury within the body, when the meniscus is broken, irritation occurs. If the surface that permits the bones to glide over one another within the knee is not any longer smooth, pain can occur with each flexion or extension. The meniscus is often damaged due to one event or it can gradually wear out due to age and overuse, causing degenerative tears.
What is a torn meniscus?
A torn meniscus is damage from a tear within the cartilage that’s positioned on top of the tibia to allows the femur to glide when the knee moves. Tears are usually described by where they’re located in the body within the C shape and by their appearance in the injured area of the body.
While physical examination may predict whether it is the medial or lateral meniscus that is damaged, a diagnostic procedure, like an MRI or arthroscopic surgery, can locate the specific part of the cartilage anatomy that’s torn and its appearance.
Because the blood supply is different to every part of the meniscus of the knee knowing where the tear is found will help to decide how easily an injury might heal (with or without surgery by the doctor or a surgeon). The better the blood supply, the higher the potential for recovery.
The outside rim of cartilage has a better blood supply than the central part of the C of the knee and the body and the leg. Blood supply to knee cartilage also decreases as the age increases of the human body and up to twenty of normal blood supply is lost by age 40.
Torn meniscus facts:-
The medial and lateral menisci are two large C-shaped cartilages that are positioned on the highest of the tibia bone at the knee.
The knee is one of the largest joints in the human body compared to other joints that exist in the human body.
Cartilage within the knee helps protect the joint from the stresses placed thereon from walking, running, climbing, and bending.
A torn meniscus happens due to an accident that causes the ankle or knee to twist and that makes a torn meniscus that hurts a lot
Symptoms of a torn meniscus include knee pain, swelling, the popping of the knee that usually happens while playing sports and doing exercise or due to lack of fitness
Treatment of a torn meniscus may include observation and physiotherapy with muscle strengthening to stabilize the knee. When conservative measures are ineffective against the tear then the treatment may include surgery to repair or remove the damaged cartilage of the body.
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What causes a meniscus to tear?
A forceful twist or sudden stop can cause the highest of the femur to grind into the top of the tibia, pinching and potentially tearing the cartilage of the meniscus. This knee injury also can occur with deep squatting or kneeling, especially when lifting an important weight.
Meniscus tear injuries often occur during athletic activities, especially in touch sports like football and hockey. Motions that need pivoting and sudden stopping of the body and extreme movements, in sports like tennis, basketball, golf, and football also can cause meniscus tear damage to the knee. The sports injury doesn’t need to occur during a game but also can occur in practice, where equivalent motions cause meniscus damage.
The risk of developing a torn meniscus increases as the age keeps increasing because cartilage begins to gradually wear out of the knee and bones of your body start to get old losing their blood supply and their resilience. Increasing weight also puts more stress on the meniscus.
Routine daily activities like walking and climbing stairs increase the potential for wear degeneration and tearing by a lot of odds. It is estimated that six out of 10 patients older than 65 years have a degenerative meniscus tear that is hard to get cured. Many of these tears may never cause problems for teens and young adults.
What Does a Meniscus Tear Feel Like?
Symptoms of a meniscus tear include:
- Pain in the knee
- A popping sensation during the injury
- Difficulty bending and straightening the leg
- A tendency for your knee to urge “stuck” or lock up
At first, the pain may not be bad. You might even play through the injury. But once the inflammation sets in, your knee will probably hurt quite a bit.
To diagnose a meniscus tear, your doctor will offer you a radical exam. He or she is going to want to listen to details about how you bought your injury. X-rays could also be necessary, to rule out broken bones and other problems. You may also need an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan, which allows a more detailed evaluation of knee cartilage of the body that will help the doctor in understanding what is the situation with your knee
What’s the treatment for a meniscus Tear
Treatment for meniscal tears depends on the dimensions and site of the tear. Other factors that influence the treatment include age, activity level, and injuries of the past. The outer portion of the meniscus, often mentioned because the “red zone,” features a good blood supply and may sometimes heal on its own if the tear is little.
In contrast, the inner two-thirds of the meniscus referred to as the “white zone,” doesn’t have an honest blood supply. Tears during this region won’t heal on their own as this area lacks blood vessels to usher in healing nutrients.
Rest the knee. Limit activities to incorporate walking if the knee is painful. Use crutches to help relieve pain.
Ice your knee to reduce pain and swelling.
Do it for 15-20 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days or until the pain and swelling is gone you should also keep taking the medications the doctor has advised you to take
Compress your knee. Use a bandage or a neoprene type sleeve on your knee to regulate swelling.
Elevate your knee with a pillow under your heel when you’re sitting or lying down on a bed or a sofa.
Take anti-inflammatory medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with pain and swelling of the knee try using the medications recommend or advised by your doctor.
However, these drugs can have side effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding and ulcers in your body that will increase the pain.
They should be only used occasionally unless your doctor specifically says to increase the dose.
Use stretching and strengthening exercises to assist reduce stress to your knee. Ask your doctor to recommend a physiotherapist for guidance.
Avoid impact activities such as running and jumping.
These conservative treatments, however, aren’t always enough. If a tear is large, unstable, or causing locking symptoms surgery could also be required to either repair or remove unstable edges. The procedure is typically pretty simple, and you’ll often head home an equivalent day. You may need a brace afterward for cover if a repair is performed.
For 85% to 90% of individuals who get the surgery for a meniscus tear, the short-term results are good to excellent ranging from how good the surgery went In most cases the surgery is not needed. But within the long-term, people that have an outsized meniscal injury that’s unrepairable could also be at a better risk of developing knee arthritis.
When Will My Knee Feel Better?
Recovery time for your knee depends on a variety of things, including how severe your meniscus tear is. Full recovery from surgery may take 4 to six weeks, counting on the sort of procedure performed also as other factors. But confine mind that folks also heal at different rates. In most cases, physiotherapy is employed after surgery to attenuate complications and speed recovery.
If your medical team agrees, you’ll take up a replacement activity that will not aggravate your knee pain while you recover. For instance, runners could try swimming.
Whatever you do, don’t rush things.
Don’t attempt to return to your old level of physical activity until and unless these changes occur in your injured knee
You can fully bend and straighten your knee without any type of pain in any part of the knee.
You feel no pain in your knee once you walk, jog, sprint, or jump.
Your knee is no longer swollen.
Your injured knee becomes as strong as your non-injured knee was
If you start using your knee before it’s healed, you could cause a further injury that will be even worse for you since it will once again take a longer treatment.
How Can I Prevent a Meniscus Tear?
Meniscus tears are tough to stop since they’re usually the results of an accident. But some precautions might lower the risks of a knee injury by some odds. You should:
Keep your thigh muscles strong with regular exercises and yoga.
Warm-up with light activities before taking part in any sort of exercise or stretching.
Give your body time to rest between workouts and exercises. Fatigued muscles can increase your risk of injury that can cause you a treatment again.
Make sure your shoes have enough support and fit correctly if tight or loose they can make your knee or leg twist causing more problems.
Maintain flexibility of your body
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the symptoms of Meniscus tear?
Symptoms of a meniscus tear include:
Pain in the knee
A popping sensation during the injury
Difficulty bending and straightening the leg
A tendency for your knee to urge “stuck” or lock up
What is a Torn Meniscus?
A torn meniscus is damage from a tear within the cartilage that’s positioned on top of the tibia to allows the femur to glide when the knee moves.
Tears are usually described by where they’re located in the body within the C shape and by their appearance in the injured area of the body.
What’s the treatment for a meniscus Tear?
Treatment for meniscal tears depends on the dimensions and site of the tear. Other factors that influence the treatment include age, activity level, and injuries of the past.
The outer portion of the meniscus, often mentioned because the “red zone,” features a good blood supply and may sometimes heal on its own if the tear is little.
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- Cardone DA, et al. Meniscal injury of the knee. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 8, 2019.
- Meniscal tears. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/meniscus-tears/. Accessed Oct. 8, 2019.
- AskMayoExpert. Meniscal tear. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2019.