What is Torn Meniscus?
A common knee injury, a torn meniscus is usually caused by a forceful twist of the knee while exerting your full weight upon it. This injury is commonly seen in those who pivot while playing their sport – those such as tennis and basketball players. A torn meniscus can also be the result of a high-contact sport like football or rugby, and can even be caused by deep knee bends while lifting a heavy object.
Symptoms of a torn meniscus include difficulty upon straightening the knee. You may be unable to fully straighten the knee no matter the effort exerted. Other symptoms include a popping sensation of the knee, pain, and swelling of the joint and surrounding area. A torn meniscus is not something that should be ignored; a visit as soon as possible to your physician is recommended. Your physician may request imaging studies such as x-rays or an MRI, and should perform a physical exam in which they will bend your and manipulate the knee to come to the conclusion of a torn meniscus.
Your physician may opt to begin treatment of your torn meniscus with conservative measures. These may include icing the affected area to reduce swelling or physical therapy to strengthen your knee muscle and prevent further injury. Other options include resting the affected leg and avoiding activities that aggravate the condition, and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
Surgery is often required if the knee remains painful and does not show signs of improvement after conservative treatment measures have been taken. Surgery is usually performed arthroscopically, which means that an small instrument called an arthroscope (consisting of a small camera and a light instrument) will be inserted into the knee via small incisions. If the meniscus injury is severe, your physician may recommend a full knee replacement.
To prevent injury to your meniscus, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Those who are overweight may experience a higher rate of knee injuries than those who are not. Engaging in careful and correct strength training will help your knees be less prone to injury, as they will be stronger and more stable. In addition, exercising, playing sports and engaging in physical activity should always be done with proper form in mind.