Have you ever heard about meniscus tear? It is the one of the most common knee injury seen in sports persons and also in people who deals with lifting heavy weights. Any activity that involves a forceful twist or rotation of knee, especially when the full weight is kept on it, can lead to meniscus tear. To protect the meniscus for a healthy knee, let us know how to prevent it from being torn.
What is a Meniscus?
A meniscus is a rubbery, c-shaped disc that cushions the knee. Each knee has one meniscus at the outer edge of the knee and other at its inner edge. Meniscus helps to keep the knee steady by balancing the weight across the knee. When a meniscus is torn, it affects the proper functionality of the knee.
What causes a Meniscus to Tear?
A torn meniscus can be a result of the activities that cause direct contact or pressure from a forced twist or rotation of the knee. Activities such as a sudden turn, deep squatting or heavy lifting can lead to the injury of the meniscus. Athletes and people who play sports that require sudden turns and stops such as football, basketball, soccer, tennis are at higher risk for a meniscus tear.
What are the Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear?
When a meniscus is torn, people may hear a popping sound around the knee joint and may experience the following set of symptoms:
- A slight pain, especially when the area is touched.
- Swelling or stiffness
- A popping sensation
- Difficulty in moving the knee or decreased range of motion.
- Inability to straighten the knee completely.
How does a Meniscus Tear is Diagnosed?
A meniscus tear can be identified during a physical exam. The doctor may ask to move the knee and leg in different positions and walk to know the cause of noticed signs and symptoms. After a physical examination, imaging tests like X-ray or MRI are suggested to get a clear picture of the tear.
Though x-rays cannot show the meniscus tear, it helps to determine the other problems with the knee that cause similar symptoms. But MRI Scan can produce detailed images of both hard and soft tissues which can detect a torn meniscus.
How can a Meniscus Tear be Treated?
The treatment for a torn meniscus depends on the several things such as the type of tear, its exact location and the severity. The treatment choices may also be affected when considered the patient’s age and how active he/she are.
As an initial treatment, the patient is asked to take rest and avoid the activities that can aggravate knee pain. Applying ice can reduce the knee pain and swelling. The doctor may prescribe pain relievers and suggest wrapping an elastic bandage around the knee which can ease the pain and reduce inflammation.
A physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles around the knee and in legs which can stabilize and support the knee joint. If any improvement is not seen even after physical therapy, Surgery is performed to repair the meniscus or to remove the part of the meniscus.
How can Meniscus Tear be Prevented?
A Meniscus tear can be prevented by following some guidelines which can help to stabilize the knee joint to protect it from being injured. The safety tips include:
- Perform exercises regularly that strengthen leg muscles.
- Use protective gear around the knees during sports or activities that may increase the risk of injuries.
- Perform warm up and stretch before exercising.
- Learn the proper techniques of the engaging activities.