The meniscus is a piece of cartilage in the knee that stabilises it and acts as a cushion between the shinbone and the thighbone. But a strong and forcefull twist in the knee, especially when putting your full weight on it, can cause it to tear. Such a meniscus tear causes pain, swelling and stiffness as well as a block in the motion of the knee, making it difficult to extend your knee fully.
A meniscus tear is a tear of the semi-circular cartilage in the knee joint causing pain and sometimes catching sensation in the knee. Twisting your knee when your foot is firmly planted on the ground can injure the meniscus cartilage.
Signs & Symptoms:
Meniscus tear symptoms could include:
At Medcare, a sports medicine specialist would first observe your signs and symptoms including performing specific meniscus tear tests like McMurray’s test and Apley’s test. Then they will probably recommend an X-ray. While a torn meniscus does not require an X-ray (as it is made of cartilage), our doctor would like to rule out any other damage to the knee bone. An MRI is the best imaging test to detect a torn meniscus.
Visit the Medcare Sports Medicine Centre for the diagnosis and treatment of your meniscus tear. Immediate treatment of a meniscus tear calls for application of ice or cold pack and compression to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Once our specialist does a complete assessment and diagnosis to confirm meniscus cartilage injury, they may recommend an MRI scan to determine the extent of the injury.
Unless there are severe injuries which require surgery, a minor tear is treated conservatively with pain killers, simple brace and physiotherapy. An arthroscopy would be performed to either repair (meniscus repair) or cut away part of the torn meniscus in order to improve your symptoms and regain function.
A: Treatment for a torn meniscus often begins conservatively, depending on the type, size and position of your tear. The doctor will also consider your meniscus tear recovery time without surgery and then recommend the line of treatment. Surgery is the last resort, as rest, ice packs, pain killers and physiotherapy are recommended to start with.
A: There are two menisci in your knee – the medial meniscus and the lateral meniscus. The meniscus is in the knee joint where the femur and the tibia meet and it plays a crucial role in your mobility. Its main function is to absorb shock, prevent your bones from rubbing against each other, provide stability and assist load bearing.
A: As your child has had a meniscus repair and not removal, the surgeon has preserved the meniscus, and it serves as a shock absorber. Most young athletes do go back to playing after this procedure. Speak to your child’s surgeon to check when it would be safe to resume sports.
A: You should not worry yourself over this decision, as your surgeon will decide this only during the procedure. If you have a meniscus repair surgery, your recovery period will be longer. However, your knee will still have shock absorption from the meniscus. In a meniscus removal, you will recover faster from the surgery but as the knee has lost some shock absorption, it’s important to support it externally, by building better muscle strength.