Meniscus Tear

What is meniscus tear?

A common injury to the meniscus of the knee is called meniscus tear. The menisci locate between the femur and tibia bones in the lower leg. Each leg has one menisci that supports the leg by providing stability and distribute nutrients onto the cartilage and tissues. Any activity where one need to forcefully rotate ot twist the knee can torn the meniscus. It causes swelling, pain, stiffness and other discomforts.

What are the symptoms of meniscus tear?

Torn meniscus may cause the following signs and symptoms in the patient:

  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Difficult to straighten the knee fully
  • A popping sensation

What are the causes of meniscus tear?

Any activity that forcefully twist or rotate the knee can result in meniscus tear. In older people, degenerative changes of the knee may also cause meniscus tear.

How are meniscus tear diagnosed?

The doctor will be able to identify meniscus tear during the physical examination itself. However, to confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may suggest the following tests:

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • Arthroscopy

How are meniscus tear treated?

Treatment options begin with conservative treatments. The doctor may recommend R.I.C.E treatment first. Therapy is the next treatment option usually suggested for meniscus tear. Physical therapies will help in strengthening the muscles and knee joints. Medications are prescribed for pain relief. Surgery is the last resort of treatment suggested only when all the other options fail to bring results.

The doctor will recommend surgery, if the patient experience pain, stiffness and other discomforts even after trying all the nonsurgical options. In certain cases, the torn meniscus can be repaired through surgery. However, certain cases may not be compromised with repairing. They may need the meniscus to be trimmed. For this surgery, an arthroscope is used. A tiny incision will be made near the knee joint and the arthroscope is inserted. The surgeon will trim the torn meniscus with the help of the arthroscope.

What about the recovery?

It may take around two weeks to recover from the surgery. During the recovery period, the surgeon may suggest physical therapy and exercise to increase the mobility and decrease the discomforts.

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