What Is the Meniscus?
There is a piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion for your femur (thighbone) and your tibia (shinbone). This piece of cartilage is known as the meniscus. Unfortunately, the meniscus is prone to tearing from intense activities that put pressure on the joints like basketball, football, and more.
Athletes aren’t the only ones in danger. Simple activities such as getting up too quickly from a squatting position can put you at risk for a meniscus tear. The Boston Children’s Hospital has released data that shows that there are more than 500,000 meniscus tears in the United States each year.
Your options for treatment depends on how severe the injury is. There are in-home remedies for less severe tears and procedures available for more serious tears.
Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear
It is important to know the symptoms of a meniscus tear so that you don’t confuse it with something else. When a meniscus tear happens, people report hearing a popping sound around their knee joint. After the meniscus tear happens, you may experience any or all of the following.
- Inability to use your knee’s full range of motion
- Feeling like your knee is locking or catching
- Feeling like your knee cannot support you
People also report feeling a slipping or popping sensation. This indicates that a bit of cartilage has become loose and is blocking the knee joint.
Treating a Meniscus Tear
Treating the meniscus tear with conservative techniques such as plenty of rest, ice, compression, and elevation should be your main concern. The RICE method could also help.
The RICE method is as follows:
- Give your affected knee a rest by using crutches to take away a lot of the pressure. Make sure you stay away from activities that can increase the stress on the joint.
- Ice your knee every three to four hours for about 30 minutes each time.
- Compress the knee with elastic bandages so that you prevent and reduce inflammation.
- Elevate the knee so that you can decrease swelling.
Medicines such as ibuprofen, aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also help. Physical therapy is a great option for strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee.
In rare cases when a knee won’t respond to the above-mentioned treatments, arthroscopic surgery might be required. Preparations for the surgery will include blood tests, X-rays, MRI, electrocardiogram (EKG) as well as other medical procedures. The surgery involves your doctor making small incisions to gain access to the underlying structure. This method will allow him to repair the damaged meniscus.
Contact Our Office
If you’re worried about a pain that you suspect to be from a meniscus tear, schedule an appointment with Advanced Spine and Orthopedics. Dr. Kevin James will be able to give you more information about the options available to you as well as guide you to the best course of action.