A meniscus tear is an injury to your knee’s meniscus cartilage and is usually a result of forcefully twisting or rotating your knee. The knee has 2 pieces of cartilage (called menisci) that act as cushions between your shinbone and thighbone. These menisci therefore help to absorb the force of your body weight when you put weight on the knee.
The risk of this injury is increased when knee twisting or rotation takes place, especially while you are putting your full weight on the joint. Contact sports like football tend to require this type of movement. Sports like basketball, in which you frequently make sharp directional changes, also represent a higher risk.
Obesity also increases the risk of a meniscus tear injury.
In older individuals, this injury may be a result of degeneration of the cartilage. This can happen over an extended period, with no impact or trauma being necessary to produce the injury.
It is important to take steps to treat this injury. Left untreated, a torn meniscus can lead to knee osteoarthritis in the longer term.
Symptoms Of A Meniscus Tear
If you suffer a torn meniscus, the main symptom may be pain and stiffness in your knee, as well as swelling of the joint.
Another possible symptom is a block on movement of your knee. You may also experience difficulty extending your knee fully.
Treatment Of A Torn Meniscus
In most cases, a meniscus injury can be fully treated using conservative treatment methods such as:
resting the knee;
applying ice to the painful area;
If the pain is severe, using analgesics or possible prescription pain medication;
Using a knee brace that is designed to ease the pain of the injury while you allow it to heal.
Your physiotherapist can design a program of exercises that will strengthen the muscles next to your knee. They will improve its ability to withstand the sort of sharp twisting and pivoting movements that can cause a torn meniscus
If these conservative treatment methods aren’t successful, your doctor may recommend surgery to help heal your torn meniscus. A surgeon can carry out a procedure to repair the meniscus by trimming it.
Alternatively, if the damage has got to the point at which osteoarthritis has set in, knee replacement surgery can be considered. It may also be possible to wear an offloading knee brace like the Bio Skin OA Spiral to defer knee replacement. Ask your doctor about this possibility.
The final surgical treatment option for your meniscus tear is to have a meniscus transplant, with your new meniscus coming from a deceased donor.