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What Is The Meniscus In Your Knee

How Can I Treat A Torn Meniscus At Home

5 Signs Your Knee Pain is a Meniscus Tear-Self-Tests (Cartilage) Updated

Depending on the size and location of your meniscus tear, it may heal without surgery. Your healthcare provider may recommend taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine to relieve pain and reduce swelling. In the days following your injury, you should also follow the RICE protocol. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

  • Rest: Keep your weight off the injured knee as much as possible.
  • Ice: Place an ice pack on your knee for about 20 minutes, several times a day.
  • Compression: Wrap your knee with a compression bandage to help reduce swelling.
  • Elevation: Rest with your leg raised higher than your heart to decrease swelling.

What Happens If You Tear Your Meniscus And You Dont Get It Fixed

The unique situation of professional athletes often provides us with answers to our most common questions. Jordan Romano pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays. His knee started hurting in early 2021. An MRI scan showed a torn meniscus as the likely cause of his pain.

The news must have been agonizing for the young pitcher. A torn meniscus causes extreme knee pain that is so severe the knee feels locked. Its bad enough when it happens to a regular person, but when professional athletes tear their meniscus there can be millions of dollars on the line if they dont play.

Jordan Romano had no choice after the MRI he entered therapy and treatment immediately and pitched through pain for the rest of the season. When the regular season ended for the Blue Jays in October the pitcher hurried to have arthroscopic meniscectomy surgery as soon as possible.

Meniscectomy surgery provides immediate relief. The pain and locking of your knee is gone when you wake up. Everyone is delighted to be able to get up and walk right away without the pain they had before surgery.

The surgery is done through tiny incisions using an arthroscope, so recovery is about a week. In younger patients with more extensive tears sometimes in addition to cleaning out the dead and injured tissues, a meniscal repair is needed.

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Improving Knee Strength After Meniscus Surgery

Strengthening the muscles around your knee surgery is very important to help rebuild function and return to activity. If you do not build up muscle strength then it can lead to long-term knee problems down the road, even after the surgery has healed.

Its essential that you work at regaining quadriceps and hamstring muscle function post meniscus surgery. This is best done through dynamic activities such as lunges, squatting, and single-leg squatting, and balance activities.

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What Are The Causes Of A Meniscus Injury

A knee meniscus tear is a common knee injury that occurs when you forcefully twist or rotate your knee. Imagine you are on the soccer field, you are heading in one direction towards the ball at full speed. Suddenly your teammate kicks the ball in the opposite direction and you quickly change your direction of movement. Your foot stays stuck in the ground whilst this change in direction occurs. This movement causes an enormous torsional load on the meniscus and leads to a compression and shearing of the discs, splitting this fragile cushion.

Similarly to this scenario, imagine yourself on the rugby field. You have to do a sudden side step. This sudden change in weight placement under all your weight combined with buckling of your knee to the inside leads to a medial meniscus tear.

How Long Does Pain Last After Meniscus Tear

What is a Torn Meniscus (Meniscus Tear)

Severe pain and swelling may occur up to 24 hours afterward. Walking can become difficult. Additional pain may be felt when flexing or twisting the knee. A loose piece of cartilage can get stuck in the joint, causing the knee to temporarily lock, preventing full extension of the leg. If you have a torn meniscus, you may:

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Meniscus Vs Cartilage Tear Of The Knee

It is common to hear the terms “meniscus tear” and “cartilage tear” used interchangeably. This has created some confusion about the difference between the two terms.

Cartilage is a type of connective tissue. Our bodies make different types of cartilage for different purposes.

A meniscus is a cushion in the knee joint. It is made up of one of the two types of cartilage found in the knee. The other is called articular cartilage. Tears can occur in both types.

This article looks at the difference between a meniscus tear and a cartilage tear. It also discusses the types of cartilage injury and some possible treatments.

What Is A Meniscectomy

Unlike meniscus repair, a meniscectomy is a type of surgery where at least some portion of the damaged meniscus is removed. Whether to remove all or part of your meniscus is typically based on issues like the location, length, pattern, and stability of the tear, as well as the overall condition of the rest of your meniscus. Your surgeon may also take into consideration the condition of the rest of your knee, your age, and any age- or injury-related degeneration that has already occurred.

As you might expect, whenever any portion of your meniscus is removed, there is the possibility for a reduction in the cushioning and shock absorbing benefits the meniscus provides. Depending on the amount of meniscus that is removed, the initial impact of this loss may not pose much of an issue. However, over time, friction caused by the repeated motion of the knee can cause the remaining cartilage around the damage to wear away and lead to a condition known as osteoarthritis.

Because of the potentially negative impact a total meniscectomy can have on a patient’s ability to be active, surgeons generally try to remove as little of the meniscus as possible. However, under some clinical conditions a surgeon may only be able to perform a meniscectomy.

Meniscus removal may:

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Can You Have Multiple Meniscus Surgeries

What is Causing Your Knee Pain? Torn or Worn-Out Cartilage? 3 Self-Tests

Multiple meniscus surgeries are not common and only happen in rare circumstances. For middle-aged patients, if the first meniscus surgery was not successful then there is a good chance that the second one wont be either.

We recommend waiting for quite a while before attempting a second surgery as it can take over a year to fully recover from the first surgery and you wont fully know if it is successful until then. In addition, giving physical therapy and your strengthening exercises a full year to be effective is recommended before doing any new surgery.

In the instances where someone has multiple Meniscus surgeries, this typically happens when there is a new tear or the old tear wasnt fully removed and was torn further causing locking or catching in the knee. In these instances, you may need to have a second knee arthroscopy to allow the knee to work properly.

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Can A Partially Torn Meniscus Heal Itself

In the case of meniscus tears, some people think the injury will heal over time on its own. But the truth is that there are different types of meniscus tears and some tears wont heal without treatment. If your tear is on the outer one-third of the meniscus, it may heal on its own or be repaired surgically.

What Is The Meniscus

The meniscus is a structure in the knee joint that spans and cushions the space between the femur and the tibia . There are two menisci in each knee one on the inside and one on the outside .

Each is made of strong fibrocartilage and is shaped like a crescent or the letter C. These menisci look like suction cups that are carefully molded to the shape of the joint surfaces of the femur and tibia.

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Your Knees Are In Constant Use

Simply walking, climbing stairs, and bending put wear and tear on your knee joints. Over time, the constant friction wears down your menisci, making them more susceptible to tears.

You can help keep your cartilage in shape by nourishing your body with whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Stop smoking, which degrades all of your tissues, including your menisci. Increase circulation to your knees and menisci with massage therapy and regular exercise.

If your cartilage is already degraded and at risk for further injury, ask us about regenerative medicine, including platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy. A regenerative medicine treatment helps your body repair and restore damaged tissue, including the menisci.

Causes Of A Meniscus Tear

Meniscal Root Tear

The meniscus can be torn during activities that cause direct contact or pressure from a forced twist or rotation. A sudden pivot or turn, deep squatting, or heavy lifting can lead to injury. Many athletes are at risk for a meniscus tear.

Sports that require sudden turns and stops may put you at higher risk for meniscus tears. Some of these sports include:

  • football
  • soccer
  • tennis

According to Boston Childrens Hospital, meniscus tears are growing increasingly common in children. This is because children are participating in organized sports at an earlier age. Additionally, when focusing on just one sport, a child is more likely to experience a meniscus tear. The same is true for adolescents who participate in competitive sports.

The meniscus weakens with age. Tears are more common in people over the age of 30. Movements like squatting or stepping can lead to injury in someone with weak menisci.

If you have osteoarthritis, youre at higher risk of injuring your knee or tearing your meniscus. Osteoarthritis is a common joint disorder involving pain and stiffness in your joints caused by aging and wear and tear.

When an older person experiences a meniscus tear, its more likely to be related to degeneration. This is when the cartilage in the knee becomes weaker and thinner. As a result, its more prone to tear.

When a meniscus tear occurs, you may hear a popping sound around your knee joint. Afterward, you may experience:

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How Is A Meniscus Tear Diagnosed

Your doctor will generally ask you how the injury occurred, how your knee has been feeling since the injury and whether you have had other knee injuries. You may be asked about your physical and athletic goals to help your doctor decide on the best treatment for you.

Your doctor will hold your heel while you lie on your back and, with your leg bent, straighten your leg with his or her other hand on the outside of your knee as he or she rotates your foot inward. There may be some pain. It is important to describe your symptoms accurately. The amount of pain and first appearance of swelling can give important clues about where and how bad the injury is. Tell your doctor of any recurrent swelling or of your knee repeatedly giving way.

A magnetic resonance imaging scan is often used to diagnose meniscal injuries. The meniscus shows up as black on the MRI. Any tears appear as white lines. An MRI is 70 to 90 percent accurate in identifying whether the meniscus has been torn and how badly. However, meniscus tears do not always appear on MRIs.

Meniscus tears, indicated by MRI, are classified in three grades. Grades 1 and 2 are not considered serious. They may not even be apparent with an arthroscopic examination. Grade 3 is a true meniscus tear and an arthroscope is close to 100 percent accurate in diagnosing this tear.

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What Is The Surgery For A Torn Meniscus

If surgery is required, a is most common. Minimally invasive incisions in the knee will be made using an arthroscope , a fiberoptic camera fixed with specialized surgical instruments. These instruments allow careful trimming of the torn meniscal fragments or, for some cases, a repair of the meniscal tear with sutures.

Since the meniscus has an important role in the long term health and function of the knee, the surgeon will always attempt to retain and repair any part of the meniscus that has the blood supply and the potential to heal. Most meniscal tears occur in the avascular part of the meniscus and cannot be repaired. In this case, the torn portion of the meniscus is removed. If the tear is large and occurs in a part of the meniscus with a good blood supply, then a repair may be performed.

In some degenerative meniscus tears, a portion will fragment and this loose fragment will cause symptoms of knee catching or locking. These may require surgical treatment. However, repair is generally not an option, since in most cases, the degenerated meniscus fragment has poor vascular supply and is thus not amenable to repair. Surgical treatment most often involves removal of the torn piece.

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Getting Out Of A Chair

Youre vulnerable to a meniscus tear when you get out of a chair or car and twist at an odd angle, especially as you get older and the cartilage weakens.

If you exhibit symptoms that suggest a meniscus tear, the team here at the office of Struan Coleman, MD, PhD, do a thorough physical exam. You may undergo X-rays to rule out a broken bone and an MRI to give the medical team a better view of the cartilage and possible damage.

Rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy are the most conservative treatments for a meniscus tear. If these prove ineffective, you may undergo electrical stimulation and cortisone injections to relieve pain.

In the case of severe tears or repeated injuries, Dr. Coleman may recommend surgical intervention. If you do suspect you have a meniscus tear, our office is here to help. Call today or make an appointment for a consultation online.

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The Meniscus Is A Shock Absorber

What’s a MENISCUS? Knee Pain explained.

The meniscus functions as a shock absorber. In the picture to the right, you can see how weight-bearing or walking forces the meniscus to move towards the outside of the knee when pressure is applied. This is how the meniscus takes the stress off of the articular cartilage on the end of the bones. We call these hoop stresses. As you put weight on the leg, the femur or thigh bone contacts the meniscus. The meniscus distends outward. That takes a lot of the stress off of the tibia or shin bone. Without a meniscus present, all the weight from the femur would contact the tibia, and the cartilage on the ends of the bones would start to wear away.

The image at left reveals a normal meniscus sitting between the femur above and the tibia below. The meniscus is a C-shaped structure in your knee that is made of fibro-cartilage. It acts as a cushion for the knee when its bearing weight.

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What Happens During Arthroscopic Meniscus Surgery

The most common procedure for a torn meniscus is knee arthroscopy. It usually takes less than an hour.

First, you receive anesthesia. The surgical team cleans the skin on your knee and covers the rest of your leg with a surgical drape. The team might place a clamp on your upper thigh to help with positioning during surgery.

The surgeon makes a few small stab incisions in your knee called portals. The team then fills the knee joint with a sterile fluid. The fluid helps control minor bleeding in the joint and washes away debris, which helps the surgeon see inside the joint.

The surgeon inserts a small tool called an arthroscope into the incision. An arthroscope is a thin tube with a small light and video camera at the end. The camera projects video images from inside your knee onto a monitor.

The surgeon uses the arthroscope to look at the tear and decide what surgical technique to perform:

  • Meniscus repair: The surgeon sews torn pieces of cartilage back together so they can heal on their own. However, because of tear type and blood supply, less than 10%of tears are actually repairable.
  • Partial meniscectomy: The surgeon trims and removes the damaged cartilage and leaves healthy meniscus tissue in place.

Your surgeon inserts other surgical tools depending on the technique used. When the meniscectomy or meniscus repair is complete, the surgeon closes the portals with stitches or surgical strips. Then the team will cover your knee with a bandage.

Pathologies Of The Menisci:

Certain movements of the knee can cause injuries to the menisci, when they do not follow the movements of the femoral condyles over the tibial plateau. This happens if, for example, the knee is suddenly extended, which is very common in football players. In this case, there is no time for the meniscus to move forward, so it is trapped between the femoral condyle and the tibial plateau.

Another type of injury is distortion of the knee joint, with external rotation and lateralisation, causing the meniscus to slide under the convexity of the internal condyle, resulting in a longitudinal tear of the meniscus. Moreover, a torn internal ligament can also lead to a torn meniscus.

Meniscus tears are one of the most common injuries. Although common in athletes, anyone can suffer this injury. There can be different types of tears, but the most common tears are longitudinal, parrot beak, flap, bucket handle and mixed/complex. In the case of sports injuries, these are usually accompanied by ligament injuries.

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