Torn Meniscus: Symptoms, Evaluation, Treatment Options
Like other knee injuries, a meniscus tear can be painful and debilitating. It is one of the most frequently occurring cartilage injuries of the knee. Treatment depends on the severity of the tear which may or may not require a surgical intervention.
The treatment for meniscus tear Oklahoma City comprises comprehensive care through a conservative approach or arthroscopic surgery.
About meniscus tear and the possible causes
A meniscus is a piece of cartilage between your femur (thigh one) and tibia (shinbone). The rubbery ends of the cartilage act like shock absorbers for your knee, providing cushioning to your knee joint.
Any injury or tear leading to the separation of the cartilage is known as a meniscus tear.
Most often high-impact contact sports like football, rugby, or basketball can injure your meniscus due to sudden movements and twisting your feet, which can lead to a meniscal tear. Sometimes, it can also be caused without any obvious knee injury, due to degeneration of the cartilage as seen in arthritis.
Clinical features of a torn Meniscus
You may notice the following symptoms if you experience a meniscus tear:
- A popping sound in your injured knee
- Buckling of your knee (your knee may give out while you stand or walk)
- Swelling around the injured knee
- Knee pain, tenderness and discomfort
- Impaired knee mobility
- Altered knee flexibility
Evaluating a meniscus tear
Your doctor will evaluate a meniscus tear through:
- Medical history to review your symptoms and rule out other debilitating diseases (like diabetes)
- Physical examination to assess your knee mobility and range of motion (ROM), and look for signs of swelling
- Imaging tests like knee X-rays, MRIs to determine the extent of damage
- Knee arthroscopy (inserting a camera-like device through small incisions) for a better view and diagnosis.
Effective treatment options for a torn meniscus
Your age, activity level, and the location of your injury help to determine the type of treatment necessary.
Initially, your doctor may recommend conservative approaches to relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation, and to restore your joint flexibility. These include:
- Ice packs
- Leg elevation
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy
More serious meniscus tears may not heal on their own and may require surgical intervention. Your doctor would recommend arthroscopic surgery since it is the most effective minimally invasive procedure to restore joint mobility and range of motion.
A torn meniscus is a very common knee injury, more likely to occur in athletes indulged in high-impact contact sports. Small tears can heal through conservative methods, while severe tears require surgery.
Surgery can alleviate painful symptoms and restore your knee stability improving your overall mobility.