The meniscus consists of two discs of cartilage which connect your thigh to your shin, via the structures of the knee. These act as shock absorbers for the bone in the area and serve to stabilize the knee joint.
Hockey and football players are especially prone to meniscus tears, but you don’t have to be on the rink or the field to injure your meniscus. People who are overweight are more prone to a meniscus tear, but meniscus injury can be caused by kneeling or lifting heavy objects.
And as we age, the meniscus becomes more susceptible to injury because tissue and bone is beginning to wear down from years of use.
A meniscus tear usually manifests as swelling and pain in the leg. You may find yourself unable to straighten your leg and it may hurt if you twist the joint.
This post covers what you need to know about meniscus injury, so read on.
Meniscus tears are seen in a range of acuities, from mild to severe. A severe tear will probably require surgery, but mild tears can be resolved with the use of non-invasive treatments.
If you require surgery, several methods may be used. One of these is a meniscus repair, which only applies in certain cases. Often the decision to repair is made after your surgeon has been able to see the status of the meniscus via incision.
The arthroscopic repair involves viewing the extent of the tear through small incisions and then stitching it up where required. These stitches are eventually absorbed by your body.
An arthroscopic partial meniscectomy involves removing the implicated portion of the cartilage, allowing your knee to return to normal function.
Finally, the arthroscopic total meniscectomy requires that the whole meniscus be removed.
For minor meniscus tears, treatment is typically to address the inflammation, namely the application of ice, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. These treatments, it should be noted, are most effective in cases which have been caused by degeneration over time.
Time is a healer, so expect recovery following surgical treatment for a meniscus tear to take about one month. Your knee will be braced or put in cast to immobilize the joint and you’ll be asked to use crutches.
You’ll most likely be prescribed physical therapy in recovery and perhaps a range of mobility exercises to restore your joint to its normative function.
A repair to the meniscus can take up to 3 months to heal completely.
With the right care, a minor meniscus tear should be resolved in about 2 to 3 weeks. Following the recommendations of your physical therapist for supportive exercises ensures a rapid recovery.
Back & Body Medical New Jersey
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At Back & Body, we work as a team, drawing on chiropractic, acupuncture, sports medicine and physical therapy to resolve pain and restore patient quality of life.
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