About Meniscus Tear
Meniscus tear is considered a common knee injury. The meniscus is a specific, rubbery disc located in the knee joint. There are two such discs, the lateral and the medial meniscus. They are C-shaped and act as powerful cushions and provide with suitable knee stability. In case of meniscus tear the knee loses its stability and there may be addition problems.
This type of injury generally occurs due to twisting or turning quickly often when the foot is planted and the knee bent. For example, it can occur while lifting something heavy and it is a common injury in many sports. People with worn meniscus are more susceptible to its tear.
Since there are three types of meniscus tear the symptoms may vary. In case of minor tear patients usually complain about slight pain. The swelling of the injured area is also not significant and with proper measures the condition improves within 2-3 weeks. A moderate tear causes more intensive pain (located at the side or in the center of the knee). Swelling is also more prominent and tends to get worse over 2-3 days. The injured knee is stiff which limits movement. The symptoms usually withdraw after a week or two. There is a chance of recurrent pain in case the tear is not treated correctly. And finally, severe meniscus tear always features with dislodging of the torn part of the meniscus. The knee may be locked and one may not be able to straighten the injured knee completely. Apart from pain, swelling as well as stiffness are two more characteristics of this type of meniscus tear.
Therapy for Meniscus Tear
Treatment for meniscus tear depends on many factors including the extent as well as location of the tear, the intensity of the pain, patient's age and general health etc.
Conservative (nonsurgical) treatment for meniscus tear includes proper rest, application of ice packs, elevation of the injured leg and physical therapy. Some people may need to wear temporary knee brace. More severe cases of meniscus tear are treated surgically. Small meniscus tears, especially those at the outer edge of the meniscus, easily heal without any need for surgery and only require rest and adequate physical therapy.
The goal of the surgery is to repair the meniscus or to remove the parts of the meniscus that have dislodged. Surgery for meniscus tear is in a form of partial meniscectomy or total meniscectomy. It is most commonly performed arthroscopically. After the surgery patients undergo physical therapy.