The meniscus refers to a cartilage that acts as a cushion between the bones of the knee. There are two menisci in each knee joint called medial and lateral meniscus (see picture). The cartilaginous tissue in each knee joint supports the knee under tension and torsion. Thus, when you do sports like running, jumping, dance, squats, etc the meniscus helps to isolate the load of the body’s weight. Most of the people think that meniscus tear is mainly due to sports activities like football, tennis, basketball, etc which is true but the tear can also occur if you do a sudden pivot, heavy lifting, deep squatting and getting up quickly can also lead to meniscus tear. The probability of getting a tear is more likely if a person does one repetitive sport, as this makes the menisci of the knee more liable to be under same pressure all the time causing weakness followed by a tear. Likelihood of getting a meniscus tear is increased over the age of 30 years and older as with age the meniscus gets weaken.
Symptoms of meniscus tear:
- Popping or clicking sound
- Intermittent pain and sensitive to touch the injured area
- Feeling of ‘giving away’
- Inability to move your knee in full range of motion
- Swelling which may or may not persist at the time of injuryIf you experience the above mentioned symptoms then contact your doctor or visit physiotherapist immediately to avoid worsen the symptoms. The first thing that you can do to decrease the swelling is to use conservative techniques -RICE Rest – try not to bear full weight on the injured knee joint, Ice – your knee after every 2-3 hours, Compress – the knee with a elastic bandage to reduce inflammation and Elevate – your knee to reduce swelling.
- On your visit to the physiotherapist, they will perform certain special tests to confirm the meniscus tear and if needed MRI can be done via the Buckingham Clinic to analyse the location and severity of the tear. As the blood supply is different to each part of the meniscus, knowing where the tear is located may help decide how easily an injury might heal (with or without surgery). The better the blood supply, the better the potential for recovery. According to the outcome, treatment will be planned for the recovery process. Once the swelling has resolved, the goal will be to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint to get stability and full range of motion. The option of surgical intervention is opted if the tear is severe and the above treatment does not aid in the patient’s recovery mechanism. There are two types of surgeries involved firstly, Knee arthroscopy allows the orthopaedic surgeon to assess the cartilage tear and potentially repair it by preserving as much cartilage as possible. Secondly, Microfracture surgery is another surgical option to stimulate new cartilage growth. Thereafter, the recovery period will include physical therapy to strengthen the muscles supporting your knee together with do’s and don’ts education.
Do you want to know more about how you can prevent and treat meniscus tear? Call or visit Buckingham Clinic and ask one of the physiotherapists for advice and tips. We will make sure to provide you with full assistance in living an independently and regaining normal function.