Meniscus Tear Of The Knee
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Overview of a meniscus tear
They can be damaged or torn during activities that put pressure on or rotate the knee joint. Taking a hard tackle on the football field or a sudden pivot on the basketball court can result in a meniscus tear.
You dont have to be an athlete to get a meniscus tear, though. Simply getting up too quickly from a squatting position can also cause a meniscal tear. According to Boston Childrens Hospital, more than 500,000 meniscal tears take place in the United States each year.
Depending on the severity of your injury, treatment options can vary from at-home remedies to outpatient surgery. You can help prevent this injury by doing exercises thatll strengthen your leg muscles and using proper techniques during contact activities or sports.
Your Knee Gets Twisted Easily
One of the more common ways to tear a meniscus is to land on your foot while your leg or knee is twisted. The torque from the twist easily rips your cartilage. If you engage in manual labor or play sports, you may be using your knees in a way that increases your risk of twisting and tearing a meniscus.
To prevent injuries and help you heal from a meniscus tear, come in for an evaluation. Our experts evaluate the way you move your legs and knees when performing daily motions, such as walking and jumping. They then make recommendations to modify your posture or the way you move so that your knee is better aligned and at less risk for twisting.
You may also have a foot-alignment problem thats affecting your knee. We may recommend custom orthotics that realign your foot bones so that your knee bone is better centered, too.
If you have a meniscus tear or knee pain, contact us today by calling 480-531-6007 or using our convenient online booking tool.
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Meniscal Cysts Vs Baker’s Cysts
Meniscal cysts are similar to popliteal or Baker’s cysts, but the latter are located in the back of the knee joint. In addition, a popliteal cyst is seen with many types of knee joint problems that lead to fluid accumulation or knee swelling.
Therefore, they can occur when there is a meniscus tear, but also with arthritis, ligament injuries, and other problems that lead to knee swelling.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Your healthcare provider will tell you when to schedule an appointment for follow-up. But you should call if you develop:
- Fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lots of drainage on the dressing.
- Pain or swelling that is not relieved by resting or elevating the leg.
- Pus or foul-smelling drainage from any incisions.
- Trouble breathing.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Meniscus surgery can fix an injured or torn meniscus, a piece of cartilage in the knee joint. Talk to your healthcare professional if you have knee pain that interferes with your life, work or activities. An arthroscopic procedure can reduce pain, improve mobility and stability, and help you return to activities.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/17/2021.
Tips To Prevent Meniscus Tears
You can prevent meniscus tears by regularly performing exercises that strengthen your leg muscles. This will help stabilize your knee joint to protect it from injury.
You can also use protective gear during sports or a brace to support your knee during activities that may increase your risk of injury.
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Possible Benefits Of Arthroscopic Meniscus Repair
The meniscus is an important structure for load transmission and shock absorption in the knee. The knee is subjected to up to 5 times body weight during activity, and half this force is transmitted through the meniscus with the knee straight, and 85% of the force goes through the meniscus with the knee bent ninety degrees. Loss of the meniscus increases the pressure on the articular cartilage, which leads to degenerative changes. A successful meniscus repair preserves meniscus tissue and mitigates these changes.
Rehabilitation And Return To Play
If the tear is minor and the pain and other symptoms cease, a muscle-strengthening program may be recommended. A large tear produces a flap of meniscus that may interfere with normal joint mechanics. The torn flap of meniscus can cause further damage leading to greater risk of degenerative arthritis. Due to the nature of the tear that the menisci can suffer, repair of the meniscus can be a complicated issue.
A meniscal tear that is symptomatic may need to be addressed surgically. If so, this is now done by arthroscopic surgery which allows the surgeon to remove the flap and smooth off the surface of the meniscus, or if possible repair the torn meniscus. This will leave normal structures and decrease the likelihood of degenerative arthritic changes.
The major goal of the rehabilitation program is to normalise walking, normalise pain-free range of motion, prevent muscle wastage and maintain cardiovascular fitness. Rehabilitation after meniscus surgery should focus on early mobilisation of the knee joint and quadriceps and hamstring strength. Weight bearing exercises should be added as directed by a sports medicine professional. Regardless of the form of surgery, rehabilitation usually includes walking, bending the legs, and doing exercises that stretch and build the leg muscles.
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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.
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.
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What’s The Treatment For A Meniscus Tear
Treatment for meniscal tears depends on the size and location of the tear. Other factors which influence treatment include age, activity level and related injuries. The outer portion of the meniscus, often referred to as the âred zone,â has a good blood supply and can sometimes heal on its own if the tear is small. In contrast, the inner two thirds of the meniscus, known as the âwhite zone,â does not have a good blood supply. Tears in this region will not heal on their own as this area lacks blood vessels to bring in healing nutrients.
Happily, not all meniscal tears require surgery. If your knee is not locking up, is stable, and symptoms resolve, nonsurgical treatment may suffice. To speed the recovery, you can:
These conservative treatments, however, aren’t always enough. If a tear is large, unstable, or causing locking symptoms surgery may be required to either repair or remove unstable edges. The procedure is usually pretty simple, and you can often go home the same day. You may need a brace afterward for protection if a repair is performed.
For 85% to 90% of people who get the surgery for a meniscus tear, the short-term results are good to excellent. But in the long-term, people who have a large meniscal injury that is unrepairable may be at a higher risk of developing knee arthritis.
Schedule A Knee Evaluation Today
Knee pain is one of the most common medical complaints among active men and women, but fortunately, today there are many techniques that can help relieve pain, restore function and even prevent or delay additional joint damage. Dr. Geoffrey Van Thiel is a leading provider of knee pain diagnosis and treatment for patients suffering from a torn meniscus in the greater Chicago area, with significant expertise in state-of-the-art treatments and innovative techniques aimed at helping patients return to their active lives as quickly as possible.
To find out more about knee pain causes and treatments, call OrthoIllinois at 815-398-9491 and schedule a consultation and evaluation with Dr. Van Thiel today.
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Your Knee Bears Tremendous Weight
When you move upright, your knee carries the load of your body, and more. Due to the effects of gravity, taking a simple step puts 1.5 times your body weight on your knee joint. If youre obese, that number might be three times your body weight.
Any extra impact on the knee jumping, running, or dancing increases the load. High-impact exercises such as jogging or jumping are the equivalent of carrying two to three times your body weight. If youre a professional athlete or gymnast, that numbers even higher.
Help your knee carry its load and avoid meniscus tears by strengthening the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Ease the stress on your knee by:
- Losing weight if youre obese or overweight
- Warming up before you work out
- Cooling down after workouts and sports
- Doing physical therapy exercises to build strength
- Doing yoga or other stretching exercises to create more flexibility
Our experts might fit you with a knee brace or recommend taping your knee while in recovery or to support it.
Rapid Recovery Without Surgery
Your Meniscus is living tissue that canheal. Healing it quickly before it tears again is the big challenge. Don’t allow your Meniscus to be cut away forever by “repair surgery”. Use King Brand®ColdCure® and BFST® Knee Wraps to heal properly so you can have a knee that will support you for the rest of your life. The ColdCure® Knee Wrap will relieve your pain and swelling, while the BFST® Knee Wrap will improve your blood flow circulation to help heal your injured Meniscus.
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Treatment For Meniscus Tears
If you have symptoms of a meniscus tear, it probably wont heal by itself and youll need some form of treatment. Youll usually need to go to A& E with this kind of injury, where theyll examine you and take some X-rays of your knee. You may then be referred to an acute knee clinic, which will organise any investigations and treatment you need.
What treatment youre offered will depend on exactly where the meniscus tear is, how big it is, how severe your injury is and your age. The initial treatment will be to control your pain and swelling using the POLICE and HARM self-help measures . Further treatments for meniscus tears include physiotherapy, medicines and surgery.
You may see a physiotherapist or an orthopaedic surgeon for treatment.
What Is Rehabilitation And Recovery Like For A Patient With A Meniscus Tear
If a conservative, non-surgical approach is taken, the pain and swelling of a torn meniscus should resolve within a few days. Recovery and rehabilitation become a long-term commitment, as does making certain that the muscles surrounding the knee are kept strong to promote joint stability. Maintaining ideal body weight, and avoiding activities that cause pain are adjuncts that are often recommended.
If knee arthroscopy is performed, the rehabilitation process balances swelling and healing. The goal is to return the range of motion to the knee as soon as possible. Physical therapy is an important part of the surgery process, and most therapists work with the orthopedic surgeon to return the patient to full function as soon as possible. Since the procedure usually is planned in advance, some health care professionals advocate pre-hab. With rehabilitation prior to the procedure, the patient begins strengthening exercises for the quadriceps and hamstring muscles before surgery to prevent the routine muscle weakness that may occur immediately after an operation.
After surgery, once the swelling in the knee joint resolves, the goal of therapy is to increase the strength of the muscles surrounding the knee, return the range of motion to normal, and promote and preserve the stability of the joint.
Do All Meniscus Tears Hurt
Yes, at some point in time most all meniscus tears will hurt. But that doesnt mean they will hurt for a long time. In many cases the pain from a meniscus tear will either improve significantly or go away without surgery. In cases where there was an injury which preceded the meniscus tear, you may have knee pain and swelling with virtually all activities. These acute meniscus tears usually occur in younger active individuals. The tear may cause mechanical pain such as popping, locking or even cause your knee to catch or feel unstable. Most people with acute, traumatic meniscus tears should consider surgery to repair the tear.
Acute traumatic meniscus tears are far less common than degenerative tears. Most of you probably felt the tear occur by kneeling, or twisting to pick something up. That is because the tear occurred through a degenerative or worn out meniscus. With a degenerative tear, rushing in for an MRI and rushing to schedule surgery isnt usually necessary since your knee pain has a good chance of settling down within 4-6 weeks. Tears that continue to hurt with pivoting or twisting and cause the knee to feel unstable might require surgery for a meniscus repair.
In general, there are many types of meniscus tears, and the type of tear you have will determine the type of pain you will have, and how long you will have it.
Causes Of Meniscus Tear Pain Down Leg
How are meniscus tears diagnosed?
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Back Of Knee Pain Treatment At Home Tested Home Remedies
Enough about the causes. Lets now discuss the solutions to this undesirable pain.
The solution lies in the diagnosis.
What is the cause of the pain?
Is it Arthritis, cramp or a tear in the meniscus.
We have discussed the symptoms of each cause above but if you are unsure still, then you have to consult your doctor.
He/she will ask you about the history of the pain, what is your routine and how often do you report this pain. You might need to have an X-ray or an ultrasound if the doctor deems it to be necessary.
We wont be discussing surgical methods or treatments for each cause, as you have medical websites and platforms for that.
Rather, we would suggest ways to get rid of them while staying at home.