What is a Torn Meniscus?
There are 3 main bones in the knee, namely patella, femur, and tibia. The ends of these bones are covered by a cartilage (a smooth material that cushions the bone, allowing the joint to move easily without any pain). In other words, the cartilage acts as a shock absorber. There are 2 crescent-shaped disks of connective tissue right between the bones of the knees, called menisci. These also act as shock absorbers in order to cushion the lower part of the leg from holding the weight of the entire body.
What Causes a Torn Meniscus?
Meniscus tears can occur because of performing a sudden rotating movement while bearing weight, like twisting the upper leg while the foot remains in one place while playing sports and other activities. This is referred to as meniscal tear or traumatic tear and can develop over time (degenerative). This is when routine activities like working in the garden, or jogging will result in tears in the meniscus that have gotten weak over time due to arthritis, age, or other conditions.
Degenerative meniscal tears are often seen in adults older than 40. Tears could be minor, with the meniscus still staying connected to the knee. Or they could be major, with the meniscus barely holding on to the knee by a cartilage thread.
What are the Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus?
Every individual might have different symptoms. But the most commonly reported symptoms are:
● Knee may feel unstable or weak
● Pain, specifically when holding the knee straight
● Knee may lock, catch, or click
● Stiffness and swelling
● Lesser range of motion
These symptoms may look similar to other health problems or conditions. Always talk with your orthopaedist or bone doctor for a diagnosis.
How is a Torn Meniscus diagnosed?
Your orthopaedist or bone specialist doctor will ask about your medical history and may also do a physical exam. You may also require:
● Arthroscopy. This is a minimally invasive procedure that is used for conditions relating to a joint. It uses a lit, small, optic tube called an arthroscope. Through a small incision in the joint, the tube is inserted into the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are then projected onto a screen. They are utilised in evaluating any arthritic or degenerative changes in the joint. The procedure also might help in the detection of bone tumours and diseases, as well as determine the cause of inflammation and bone pain.
● MRI. This test utilises a combination of radio waves, and large magnets along with a computer in order to produce detailed images of structures and organs within the body. It can also help in finding disease or damage in a surrounding muscle, ligament, bone, or tendon.
● X-ray. This test utilises invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal organs, bones and tissues onto film.
How is a Torn Meniscus treated?
Treatment of a torn meniscus mainly depends on your general health, age, and symptoms. It might also depend on the severity of the condition.
Treatment may include:
● Resting, keeping the affected limb elevated, and icing your knee
● Exercises for muscle-strengthening
● Taking medicine to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
● Compression bandage
● Arthroscopic surgery
What are possible complications of a Torn Meniscus?
If a torn meniscus is left untreated it can result in lasting pain and instability of the knee. It might also increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
When should I call my orthopaedist?
Call your orthopaedist if your knee:
● Buckles or feels weak
● Is swollen and painful
● Catches or locks or makes a clicking, grinding, or popping sound
Key points about a torn meniscus
● Torn meniscus is usually the result of a twisting movement of the knee while bearing weight. Or, it could have developed over time from routine activities.
● A torn meniscus causes clicking, pain, or locking, and even weakness of the knee.
● Arthroscopy, exercises, and medicine may be recommended in order to treat a torn meniscus.
If you’re looking for an orthopedist in Bangalore for consultation with respect to a torn meniscus you can get in touch with 1Health Medical Center. Our expert Orthopedist will make the necessary observations, prescribe the right tests, and eventually use the test results to arrive at a treatment plan which will help you mitigate the problem.