What is Knee Meniscus?
The meniscus is a crescent-shaped fibrous-cartilage shock absorber located in the knee joint between the tibia and thigh bones. It is very important for knee health and function. It ensures joint stability and spreads the load from the thigh to a wider area of the tibia joint face.
The inner meniscus is located on the inner edge of the knee. This elongated C-shaped meniscus absorbs up to 50% of the load applied to the index medial (inner) chamber.
The outer meniscus is located on the outer edge of the knee. This circularly shaped meniscus absorbs up to 80% of the load that rides in the side (outer) compartment of the index.
What is a Knee Meniscus Tear?
It is a rupture of the meniscus located at the upper part of the joint face of the tibia in the knee. Meniscus tear is a common knee injury that can prevent the knee from functioning properly.
Athletes and hard-working teens are particularly at high risk for meniscus tears. Since the cartilage thins over time, meniscus tears can also be seen in the elderly.
What are the Symptoms of Knee Meniscus Tear?
If you feel sudden pain and pop in your knee while working out or during knee trauma, you may have ruptured your meniscus. You can still walk on your knee, but your symptoms will worsen in the next few days. Symptoms of meniscus tearing are also;
- Knee pain
- Unable to fully extend the index
- Hardness or swelling
- Feeling “locked” inside your knee
How to Diagnose Knee Meniscus Tear?
Your doctor first investigates when and how the injury happened, as well as what you do when the pain begins. He will then conduct a physical examination to determine the exact cause of your symptoms. During the physical examination, your doctor will perform a test called the McMurray manoeuvre, which involves bending and opening your knee, putting pressure on your knee to determine which positions cause pain or locking.
Your doctor may also use X-rays or other tests such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to make a definitive diagnosis.
What are the Treatment Options for Knee Meniscus Tear?
Treatment of meniscus tear depends on several factors;
- Age of the patient
- Activity level
- Location, type and severity of the tear
Treatment of meniscus injuries has improved in the last few decades. Since the meniscus is very important for the health of the knee joint, most doctors now prefer to repair it whenever possible.
Some small meniscus tears heal without surgery. Non-surgical treatment may include;
Rest: Your doctor will advise you to avoid activities that exacerbate knee pain or require knee bending. You may also need to use crutches and apply ice to your knee to reduce swelling.
Anti-inflammatory Drug Treatment: These drugs can help reduce pain and swelling.
Physical Therapy: A qualified physiotherapist can provide exercises to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint to stabilize and support the joint.
Knee pads: Can support your knee and help prevent further injury.
These surgeries are usually performed with the help of a camera through two small holes. It includes;
Partial Resection: This procedure is used for tears in the inner two-thirds of the meniscus, where there is no blood flow. The surgeon will remove the torn part of the meniscus and leave the rest of the meniscus intact.
Meniscus Repair: In some cases, the meniscus can be repaired with stitches or special sewing devices. These are called absorbable fastening devices and can heal by combining the torn edges of the meniscus.
MeniscusTransplantation: Changing the meniscus is a newer technique and is not yet widely used. It involves replacing the meniscus with a human-induced meniscus or a collagen implant. As this procedure is more widely adopted, it can prevent calcification associated with complete removal of the meniscus.
After all surgeries, usually the patient is discharged home the next day.