A torn meniscus is a tear in the meniscus, which is a piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion between the thighbone and shinbone in the knee joint. The meniscus helps to stabilize the knee joint and distribute weight evenly across the knee.
Torn menisci are a common knee injury, especially among athletes and people who participate in high-impact activities. They can also occur due to aging or degenerative changes in the knee joint.
Torn Meniscus Symptoms
The symptoms of a torn meniscus can vary depending on the severity of the tear. Some people may have no symptoms at all, while others may experience the following:
- Pain in the knee, especially when twisting or rotating the knee
- Swelling in the knee
- Catching or locking of the knee
- Difficulty straightening the knee fully
Torn Meniscus Diagnosis
Your doctor will diagnose a torn meniscus based on your medical history and a physical exam. During the physical exam, your doctor will look for pain, swelling, and tenderness in the knee. They may also ask you to perform certain movements to test the range of motion in your knee.
Your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to rule out other causes of your knee pain.
Treatment Options for Torn Meniscus
The most common injury to the knee is the meniscus tear, particularly among contact athletes. The meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage piece between your shinbone and thigh bone. It protects and cushions your knee joint. The tear's severity and location will determine the treatment options and recovery time. Continue reading to learn about available treatment options and the expected recovery time for a torn meniscus.
A "pop" sound that precedes knee pain could indicate that your meniscus has torn. A tear in the Meniscu's outer edges is easy to heal because they have a good blood supply. Unfortunately, the blood supply to the inner menisci is not sufficient. This area often requires surgery to repair the tears.
A Meniscus tear at the outer edge of the knee requires nonsurgical treatment. This includes rest, ice, and pain medication. Your doctor may ask you to modify the RICE protocol if your knee is stable. Elevation, rest, cold therapy with a Cold pack, and compression will reduce pain, speed healing, and minimize swelling.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, relieve pain and swelling. Taking NSAIDs regularly can speed up your recovery from a knee injury, provided you don't have a medical condition preventing you from taking them.
Your doctor will perform an initial physical exam to determine if you have a meniscus injury. Then, your doctor can help you diagnose your condition by using imaging tests. Unfortunately, X-rays cannot diagnose this type of injury, but magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide a clear picture. McMurray is another excellent test to help your doctor diagnose a torn Meniscus. Your doctor will first bend your knee and straighten it. Then, they will turn your knee. A torn meniscus is likely if your knee clicks during the McMurray test.
Physical therapy focuses on strengthening the muscles around the knee for a meniscus injury. It will improve stability and range of motion. A physical therapist will evaluate your knee injuries when you first see them. A physical therapist might recommend tools to reduce the impact on your legs and feet, such as orthotics and a knee brace.
Strengthening and range-of-motion exercises are essential parts of meniscus tear recovery and treatment. As a result, your muscles are supported, and your body weight is maintained. Stabilizing your knee joint will be possible by strengthening the muscles around your knee and surrounding areas. In addition, your knees and other joints will be less stressed if you keep your weight at an ideal level.
Night Time Treatment
It doesn't matter if it's nighttime; treating a meniscus tear is difficult. To help you sleep better, you must manage pain and swelling during the night. You can use heat with a Sacksythyme's Everywhere Microwaveable Heating pad, cold therapy, or anti-inflammatory medication. Excellent nighttime treatment can speed up healing and reduce recovery time.
Sacksy Thyme Microwavable Heating Pad for Torn Meniscus
The Sacksy Thyme Microwavable Heating Pad is an excellent solution for individuals suffering from a torn meniscus. This heating pad is designed to provide a targeted application of heat therapy that can help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with a meniscus tear. The pad is made from high-quality materials and features a soft, plush exterior that is gentle on the skin. It is designed to be microwaved, making it easy to use at home or on-the-go.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if nonsurgical treatment fails to work. For example, for a torn meniscus, there are three options from orthopedic surgeons. Your doctor will determine which option is best based on the type of tear. Continue reading to learn about each type of surgical treatment.
The most common way to repair a meniscus tear is through arthroscopic surgery. The surgeon will make a small incision at the knee to insert an arthroscope, a camera that is small enough to view the joint. The surgeon will also make small incisions to insert surgical instruments for the meniscal surgery. Arthroscopic surgery can be used to repair or remove the meniscus.
Partial meniscectomy refers to the removal of a damaged meniscal tear. When the meniscus can't be repaired, this surgical procedure is performed. For example, the surgeon might remove the damaged meniscus because there is no blood supply or for other reasons.
The entire meniscus can be removed during a total meniscectomy. This surgery may increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis. However, a damaged meniscus could also prove to be dangerous. Total meniscectomy, however, is an uncommon surgical procedure.
Time for Recovery
The type of surgery performed will determine the length of your recovery and rehabilitation. For example, the meniscus must heal after a meniscus repair. Therefore, your overall healing time will be longer. For example, a meniscus repair will take three months to complete.
The healing process for a meniscectomy is usually three to four weeks. After the healing process is complete, rehabilitation can be completed at home. You will soon be able to move with the assistance of a physical therapist. A physical therapist will provide a strengthening exercise plan to help you regain muscle strength and increase your knee range.
Preventing Torn Meniscus
There are a number of things you can do to prevent torn menisci, such as:
- Warm up before exercise. Warming up helps to prepare your muscles and tendons for activity, which can help to reduce your risk of injury.
- Stretch regularly. Stretching the muscles in your legs, especially your thighs and hamstrings, can help to improve flexibility and reduce your risk of injury.
- Strengthen the muscles around your knee. Strong muscles around your knee can help to support the knee joint and reduce the risk of injury.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts additional stress on your knees, so maintaining a healthy weight can help to reduce your risk of developing a torn meniscus.
- Wear supportive shoes. Wearing supportive shoes can help to reduce stress on your knees and ankles.
- Avoid overuse. If you experience pain in your knee, stop the activity and rest. Continuing the activity could make the injury worse.
Consider wearing a knee brace if you are active in sports or other activities that stress your knees. Knee braces can help to support the knee joint and reduce the risk of injury.
Here are some additional tips for preventing torn meniscus:
- Use proper lifting techniques. When lifting heavy objects, bend at the knees, not the waist. This will help to reduce stress on your back and knees.
- Avoid sudden movements. Sudden movements, such as twisting or rotating your knee, can increase your risk of developing a torn meniscus.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When walking or running, be aware of uneven surfaces and obstacles that could cause you to trip or fall.
Meniscus Tears are safe and effective.
Meniscus tears are a common injury to the knee, Which Twisting movements can cause. You can treat the condition at home using the RICE protocol. Your doctor will discuss the best surgical option. If your doctor decides surgery is required to repair your meniscal tear, they will discuss the best surgical repair option. Whatever treatment you choose, your active participation is required to restore your knee strength and movement.