One of the most common knee injuries is a torn meniscus. Any activity that leads to an abrupt rotation or twisting of your knee may lead to the tearing of your meniscus. The pain arising from this frequently occurring issue is acute and debilitating.
What Exactly Is a Meniscus?
The meniscus is a c-shaped rubber-like disc of cartilage present in each of your knees. It helps in providing protective cushioning for the joint between your thighbone and shinbone. The primary function of the meniscus is to protect your bones from the damage of constant wear and tear, and it also helps in providing you a balanced standing posture.
An injury to your meniscus might lead to excruciating pain and inflammation of the knee joint. The stiffness of your knee after a meniscus injury may even disable you, making it difficult or impossible to extend your leg completely.
What Are the Causes of a Meniscus Tear?
As mentioned, a meniscus injury might occur due to a sudden twist of the knee while the foot is firmly planted on the ground. More often than not, the risk of meniscus injury is extremely high during sports such as football, rugby, or volleyball. The injury might take place when a person suddenly changes direction with a jerk while running.
Sometimes, the meniscus tear might happen in conjunction with other knee injuries such as an ACL tear or an anterior cruciate ligament injury. In some cases, even deep kneeling, squatting, or lifting of heavy weights can lead to a meniscus tear.
The risk of a meniscus tear increases with the degeneration of the cartilage with age and is extremely high in older athletes.
What Are the Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus?
There are a few telltale signs of a meniscus tear, and these can be quite easy to spot. These are some of the symptoms of a probable meniscus tear:
•A discernible stiffness and swelling around your knee
•An intense pain while rotating or twisting your knee
•A considerable difficulty in fully extending your knee
•A popping sensation in and around your knee region
•A sensation of your knee being locked up in its joint
The Diagnosis and Treatment
After being freshly injured, you might get a subtle unsteadiness in your knee that may not even stop you from continuing with your activity. However, once the inflammation sets in, you may experience an extreme pain and stiffness in your knee joint.
As per the initial diagnosis procedures, your doctor will physically examine your knee and might ask you to get a few tests done. Sometimes, you may be asked to get an x-ray to rule out the possibilities of a fracture, or an MRI to have an advanced examination of the extent of your cartilage tear.
The basic treatment for meniscus tears depends upon the level and gravity of the injury. Minor tears can be treated by application of ice packs, taking extended periods of rest and prescription medication. However, a more serious injury might require a surgical intervention.
Schedule a Consultation
Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin James is highly experienced in treating numerous types of bodily injuries. Those worried that they have experienced a torn meniscus should contact our office immediately and schedule a consultation.