Meniscus Tear of the Knee: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis
A knee meniscus tear is a common injury, especially among athletes. However, the condition is not limited to sportspersons alone and anyone can suffer from it. If you suspect a meniscus tear, consult an orthopedic surgeon in Chennai without delay as early treatment results in a faster cure and recovery.
Before we start, let us get to know a little about the knee’s anatomy and what the meniscus is.
• The knee joint is the meeting of the shinbone and the thigh bone.
• This meeting point of the bones has cartilage called meniscus to cushion the joint and allow for smooth movement.
• The meniscus is susceptible to damage and that is why meniscus tears are quite common.
Causes of Meniscus Tear:
• Sudden twisting or jerking movement of the knee – this is common with sports like football, badminton, etc.
• Even running and making a sudden turn can cause the meniscus to tear.
• Heavy lifting, squatting and other activities that strain the knees can lead to a meniscus tear.
• As the meniscus becomes weaker with age, these tears become more common.
Symptoms of Meniscus Tear:
A meniscus tear is quite painful and if you experience any of the following symptoms, it is best to get your knee checked by an orthopedic surgeon.
• Pain that intensifies with knee movement like twisting or turning.
• Inflammation in the knee.
• Inability to straighten the leg.
• Knee feels unstable and you feel you might fall.
• Knee feels locked and you feel movement is not possible.
Diagnosis of Meniscus Tear:
• The doctor will conduct a physical examination and check the knee’s range of movement.
• He/she will also ask you how the injury was sustained.
• A meniscus tear will not be visible on an x-ray but an x-ray might be done to rule out other conditions.
• An MRI will be done to confirm the condition.
Meniscus Tear Treatment:
Treatment options vary depending on how severe the tear is and which part of the meniscus has suffered damage. The outer part of the meniscus has a better chance of healing on its own compared to the interior, provided the tear is not large.
Sometimes, a meniscus tear will not require surgical intervention and will resolve on its own. The doctor might suggest the following to aid healing:
• RICE: Rest the knee, Ice it, keep it wrapped in a Compression bandage and keep it Elevated.
• Painkillers can help relieve pain but should be taken only with the doctor’s knowledge.
• Performing simple exercises to stretch as well as strengthen the knee.
In some cases, these non-surgical treatment options are not sufficient. This happens when the tear is big or if the patient complains of knee locking. For these patients, surgery will be recommended.
Usually, arthroscopy or keyhole surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure to repair the tear.
• During the procedure, small incisions are made on the knee to insert a tube fitted with a camera. The camera’s output will be seen on a monitor.
• The doctor can see the tear and insert instruments through the same incisions to repair it.
• No hospitalization is required and the success rate of the surgery is high.
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