A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries that affects millions of people around the world, from youngsters to older adults and the elderly. The meniscus is a C-shaped tissue of cartilage, that is present in both knees, between the thigh bone and the bone of the lower leg. Its primary function is to promote flexibility of movement at the knee joints.
When a person performs an activity that twists the knee or rotates it at an uncomfortable angle, it results in a torn meniscus. It mostly occurs due to kneeling down or squatting for prolonged periods of time, lifting heavy objects or playing a sport like football or tennis.
The main risk factors that increase the chances of developing a torn meniscus include obesity and wear and tear of knee tissue due to aging.
A torn meniscus is especially painful as it hinders freedom of motion around the knee joint, leading to excruciating knee aches and inability to stretch out the legs completely.
In order to prevent developing a severe knee injury or osteoarthritis, timely medical attention is a must when signs of a torn meniscus are recognised in a person.
The typical indications of a torn meniscus consist of:
- Frequent popping at the knees
- Inflammation and swelling in the lower legs
- Stiffness and tightness of knee joints
- Pain while moving or turning your legs
- Difficulty in extending the knee and lower leg fully
Diagnosis And Treatment
The doctor will first examine the external symptoms around the lower legs in the patient, to look for any signs of protrusions and bumps around the knees. In addition, certain postures and movements of the patient are analysed, such as their ease of sitting, squatting, walking and bending the legs.
Imaging scans are also conducted, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-rays, to determine if any bones are injured and visualise the extent of damage to the cartilage in the knees.
The treatment in case of a minor knee strain is taking ample rest, besides massaging the painful regions in the lower legs with ice packs and taking pain-relieving medications. Also Read: Treat Knee Pain With Home Remedies
If these treatment strategies do not effectively lower pain and improve knee function, then the healthcare provider will advise the affected individual to opt for surgery. Here, an instrument called an arthroscope is inserted by creating a tiny incision in the knees which helps view the injured meniscus. The surgeon then carefully cuts off the deteriorated portion of the meniscus, so as to help restore complete knee movement and flexibility in the patient. Also Read: Total Knee Replacement: Procedure And Recovery