Having pain in any part of our body is quite stressful. Sadly, this kind of injury nowadays is quite common.
What Is The Meniscus?
It is a small piece of cartilage that is located in your knee. It protects and brings stability to your joints. This kind of injury causes the knee to lock up, and it becomes difficult to have any mobility.
This type of injury often happens when engaging oneself in contact sports like soccer, volleyball, tennis, football, or basketball. An injury can occur when, for instance, a person suddenly changes direction while running or even when walking. Meniscus tears are something that often happens to older adults. Most of the time this type of injury worsens with age. This type of damage is prevalent in people over 65.
Symptoms Of A Meniscus Tear
- Knee pain
- Swollen knee
- Popping sound when walking
- It is quite difficult to bend or straighten your leg
- Your knee tends to lock up
At first, you will be able to handle the pain. As time progresses and the inflammation that exists in your knee increases, then your mobility can decrease, and be excruciating to move or walk.
How To Diagnose A Meniscus Tear?
The first thing that your doctor will want to know is every detail of how you injured your knee and about the symptoms that you are currently feeling. Then, he will determine whether or not an X-ray is necessary or not. He may also need to check if you have any broken bones or any other issues that need to be resolved. The potential for muscle and bone damage is a reason why an MRI scan is often required as this type of test examines the current state of your cartilage.
Types Of Non-Invasive Treatments
The type of treatment wholly depends on where is the tear located and how big is tear. Other things that make a big difference in the kind of treatment needed is age, type of activity and other injuries that there might be. This outside portion of the meniscus is referred to as the ¨red zone¨. This zone can help supply the blood that the patient needs to heal from this type of injury. The ¨white zone¨ of your meniscus does not have a good blood supply. The tears that there may be in this region will never heal on their own.
Now, not all tears require surgery. If your knee has stability, and your symptoms are resolved, then a non-invasive treatment is enough. You can help fast-pace your recovery by:
- Rest your knee. Reduce the type of activities that can cause stress to your knee. Use crutches if necessary.
- Put on ice in your knee to relieve pain and swelling. You can do this from fifteen to
twenty minutes every three to four hours. This treatment can be done from two
to three days or until the pain has vanished.
- You can use a compression knee band or a neoprene sleeve to alleviate the pain and
- You can also elevate your knee with a pillow that supports your knee and heel when you are sitting down or resting in your bed.
- Pilates and Yoga can be a fantastic way to help reduce the stress impacting your knee. Remember to ask your doctor before you perform this type of exercise. You also have to take into consideration that you may need physical therapy.
- Always avoid high impact cardiovascular activities such as running or jumping.
However, this type of therapy is not always enough. If the tear is large enough, then it will cause instability in your knee, and it will cause severe locking up symptoms. Therefore, you may need surgery to repair the damage.
The procedure that is done most of the time is simple, and most of the time you will be able to go home. Your doctor might let you know that you need a brace after the procedure is performed.
The short-term results of this type of procedure are fantastic. But in the long-term, there is a high
risk of developing arthritis.
Am I Going To Need Surgery?
Your knee has two C-shaped discs of soft tissue that connects your thighbone to your shinbone. They absorb
the shock or impact that your bones may receive when receive and they also bring stability to your knees.
Athletes who play sports like football tend to have this type of injury. Also, people who become bodybuilders
at an older age tend to have this kind of tear, your bones and tissue begin to
wear down at a faster pace.
If the results of tests show that your tear is mild ( Grade 1 or 2 ), then maybe you are not going to need surgery. But, if it is Grade 3, it is most likely that you will. Here are the types of surgery your doctor may choose to perform:
- Arthroscopic repair. It is a procedure that requires your doctor to make small incisions in your knee. He is going to introduce n arthroscope to view the state of the injury. After this is done, he will put in tiny devices to be able to close the incision.
- Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy. With this type of procedure, your doctor only removes that piece that is damaged.
- Arthroscopic total meniscectomy. In this type of procedure, your doctor takes out your meniscus.
The risk of there ever being a complication is low. The type of risks that they include damage to
the skin, nerves, or a possible infection.
You may need to wear a cast for your knee to have stability. You may need to wear crutches for a
month. You must keep the weight off your knee.
It is very likely that your doctor recommends physical therapy. You may also prescribe different types of
exercises to help you heal. The recovery time is up to three months.
You can also ask your insurance company if they cover a physical therapist that can go to your home to show you how to do the exercises needed correctly.