Meniscal injuries are categorized into either acute or degenerative tears. An acute tear occurs when the knee forcefully twists when the knee is bent. This type of tear is common amongst sportsmen and women and is less common that the degenerative tear. Older people, usually those above the age of 65, tend to have a degenerative tear, which results from age-related wear of the knee joint. About 60% of people in this age group have degenerative damage of some sort. Unlike the acute tear, a degenerative tear can occur even after a minor accident.
Receiving appropriate and effective meniscus tear treatment is important for both types of tears. One should seek help as soon as possible for a higher chance of recovery.
In the following article, the writer discusses the various functions of the menisci and how an injury limits these functions.
How Menisci Injuries Affect the Normal Functions of the Knee
The medial meniscus and lateral meniscus are specialized structures within the knee. These crescent-shaped shock absorbers between the tibia and femur have an important role in the function and health of the knee. Once thought to be of little use, the menisci (plural) were routinely removed when torn. Now we know that the menisci contribute to a healthy knee because they play important roles in joint stability, force transmission, and lubrication. Read more here
In the 1960s and 1970s, whenever a patient was found to have menisci tears, the solution was to remove the managed menisci. Unfortunately, this led to early degenerative arthritis. The inner menisci bear up to 50% of the weight exerted on it, while the outer one bears up to 80% of the load. Damaged menisci weaken your knees. This means, your body weight may become too much for the knee, whether you are walking, running, or jumping. Damaged menisci will limit your ability to move comfortably.
In the following article, the Mayo Clinic Staff discuss various treatment options and how you should prepare for the doctor’s visit.
Questions You Should Expect After a Menisci Injury
A torn meniscus often can be identified during a physical exam. Your doctor might move your knee and leg into different positions, watch you walk and ask you to squat to help pinpoint the cause of your signs and symptoms.
X-rays – Because a torn meniscus is made of cartilage, it won’t show up on X-rays. But X-rays can help rule out other problems with the knee that cause similar symptoms. MRI – This uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of both hard and soft tissues within your knee. It’s the best imaging study to detect a torn meniscus. Read more here
During your first doctor’s visit, you will answer several questions for proper diagnosis. The doctor will want to know when the injury occurred or how long you had the symptoms, if you had a pop or felt a popping sensation when you got injured, if the symptoms are constant or if they ease sometimes, and if the symptoms worsen during specific movements. If you feel your knees are no longer supportive of your weight, you also need to talk the doctor as this may signify significant damage to the cartilage.
In the following article, C Benjamin Ma, MD, discusses the aftercare of meniscus tears.
Self-Care After Menisci Tear Treatment
The meniscus is a c-shaped piece of cartilage in your knee joint. You have two in each knee. Meniscus cartilage is a tough but flexible tissue that acts as a cushion between the ends of bones in a joint. Meniscus tears refer to tears in this shock-absorbing cartilage of the knee.
The meniscus forms a cushion between the bones in your knee to protect the joint. The meniscus acts like a shock-absorber, helps distribute the weight to the cartilage, helps to stabilize your knee joint, and can tear and limit your ability to flex and extend your knee. Read more here
After the doctor gives a diagnosis on meniscus tears, you’ll need to follow the treatment plan. You may be required to use crutches or a cane, use a brace to support your knee, or avoid activities that may twist your knees. As you go through the healing phase, you need to look out for possible complications, which may include, fever or severe bleeding on your knees.