A meniscus tear is quite like many other knee injuries – it can be extremely painful and difficult to manage. It is also among the most common cartilage injuries of the knee. A meniscus is basically a piece of cartilage that cushions and stabilizes your knee joint. It is also responsible for protecting your knee joint from wear and tear, but it is also true that all you need is a good twist of the knee to tear this piece of cartilage. You need to talk to your doctor immediately to determine the best meniscus tear treatment. Let's find out more about some available options.
When you have a meniscus tear, you are likely to experience several symptoms, including pain in the knee along with swelling. You are likely to experience a popping sensation during injury. It becomes difficult to straighten or bend your knee.
The pain is usually not so severe in the beginning but gets worse over time, especially after the inflammation has set in. You need to see your doctor immediately who will conduct a physical exam to see if you have a meniscus tear. They may also order x-rays, MRIs, or other imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis.
You may want to stick to conservative treatment techniques in the beginning. Most people feel better after using RICE method. It means you should:
You may also feel better after taking aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Avoid bearing weight on your knee if it feels painful. Be sure to take advantage of physical therapy if your doctor has recommended it for you. It can reduce pain and teach you how to improve knee stability and mobility.
When conservative treatment techniques fail to work, you need to try a more invasive meniscus tear treatment. You may have to go for arthroscopic surgery. You need to take a few steps to prepare yourself for the surgery. For instance:
It is important to inform your doctor about any condition that might affect the procedure. These include an infection, a high fever, an open wound, and a cold. The procedure involves making an incision in your knee to insert tools with a camera to help repair the damaged meniscus. Sometimes, they also decide to trim away any damaged part. It usually takes about an hour to finish the procedure and no overnight stay is usually required. You can start your physical therapy session after a few days of surgery.
It usually takes about six weeks to recover from your surgery. Be sure to discuss all your options before undergoing a surgical procedure. Ask your doctor if surgery is really a good option for you.
It is rather an experimental treatment for meniscus tears. You may want to go for this option if your meniscus is already weak or scarred due to previous treatment or injury. The procedure involves transplanting a piece of donated meniscus cartilage into the knee.
You may be a good candidate for meniscal transplantation if you are younger than age 50, are not obese, and have knee pain that has not responded to conservative treatment options. You should also have no arthritis and have well-aligned knees.
A number of factors go into determining how long your knee will take to recover completely. The severity of your meniscus tear is one of the most important factors. You usually require up to 6 weeks for complete recovery, but it may take longer for some people to heal. You should work with your physical therapist because those therapy sessions can help speed recovery and minimize complications after surgery.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking up any new activity. It should not aggravate your knee pain or it will prolong your recovery. For instance, you could try swimming, but you should avoid other activities that involve knee movements. You should return to your normal activity level only when:
As mentioned already, there are some meniscus tear treatment options but recovery can take time. It is therefore better to take precautionary measures and avoid having a tear in the first place. Here are a few steps to take: