Meniscus tears are among the most typical knee injuries. Professional athletes, especially those who play contact sports, are at risk for meniscus tears. However, anybody at any age can tear a meniscus. When people talk about torn cartilage in the knee, they are generally referring to a torn meniscus.
What Happen If You Leave Torn Meniscus Untreated?
Left untreated, a torn meniscus tear can cause even more damage, accelerate the onset of osteoarthritis, and result in a myriad of other undesirable symptoms. Treatment for a torn meniscus typically starts conservatively. Your doctor might recommend rest, ice, over the counter pain relievers, or physical therapy. Physical therapy can assist you strengthen the muscles around your knee and in your legs to help support and support the knee joint. So, can a torn meniscus heal on its own without risk to get more damage? Probably, not.
Causes of Torn Meniscus Injury
Torn meniscus tears typically take place during sports. Players might squat and twist the knee, causing a tear. Direct contact, like a tackle, is sometimes involved.
Older people are more likely to have degenerative meniscus tears. Cartilage deteriorates and uses thin in time. Aged, worn tissue is more prone to tears. Just an uncomfortable twist when getting up from a chair may be enough to cause a tear, if the menisci have compromised with age.
You may feel a “pop” when you tear a meniscus. Most people can still walk on their hurt knee. Lots of professional athletes keep playing with a tear. Over 2 to 3 days, your knee will slowly end up being more stiff and swollen.
The most common symptoms of torn meniscus are:
- Stiffness and swelling
- Capturing or locking of your knee
- The sensation of your knee “giving way”
- You are unable to move your knee through its complete range of movement
Without treatment, a piece of meniscus might come loose and drift into the joint. This can cause your knee to slip, pop, or lock.
Torn Meniscus Treatment
How your orthopaedic surgeon treats your tear will depend on the kind of tear you have, its size, and place.
The outside one-third of the meniscus has a rich blood supply. A tear in this “red” zone may heal on its own, or can frequently be repaired with surgery. A longitudinal tear is an example of this kind of tear.
On the other hand, the inner two-thirds of the meniscus does not have a blood supply. Without nutrients from blood, tears in this “white” zone can not recover. These intricate tears are typically in thin, used cartilage. Since the pieces can not grow back together, tears in this zone are generally surgically trimmed away.
Along with the type of tear you have, your age, activity level, and any associated injuries will factor into your treatment strategy.
If your tear is small and on the external edge of the meniscus, it may not need surgical repair. As long as your symptoms do not persist and your knee is steady, nonsurgical treatment may be all you need.
RICE. The RICE protocol works for a lot of sports-related injuries. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
- Rest. Take a break from the activity that triggered the injury. Your doctor might suggest that you use crutches to avoid putting weight on your leg.
- Ice. Use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, a number of times a day. Do not use ice directly to the skin.
- Compression. To prevent additional swelling and blood loss, use a flexible compression bandage.
- Elevation. To reduce swelling, recline when you rest, and put your upper hand greater than your heart.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen minimize pain and swelling.
If your symptoms persist with nonsurgical treatment, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery.
Procedure. Knee arthroscopy is one of the most frequently carried out surgical procedures. In it, a mini cam is placed through a little incision (portal). This provides a clear view of the within the knee. Your orthopaedic surgeon inserts miniature surgical instruments through other websites to cut or fix the tear.
- Partial meniscectomy. In this procedure, the damaged meniscus tissue is cut away.
- Meniscus repair work. Some meniscus tears can be repaired by suturing (stitching) the torn pieces together. Whether a tear can be successfully treated with repair relies on the kind of tear, as well as the total condition of the injured meniscus. Because the meniscus must heal back together, recovery time for a repair is a lot longer than from a meniscectomy.
Meniscus tears are very typical knee injuries. With correct diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, patients typically go back to their pre-injury capabilities.
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