The meniscus, which is a large piece of cartilage, is found in between the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) where it provides cushioning. Each knee joint has a pair of meniscus. Problem can arise if the meniscus gets damaged or torn, which can happen during physical activities that twist the knee or put pressure on it. This is the reason why meniscus tear is a very common injury among athletes, such as basketball and football players.
However, there is no need for you to be an athlete in order to end up with meniscus tear. There are a variety of everyday physical activities that can cause such problem to arise. Some examples are going from a squatting to a standing position rapidly and carrying really heavy objects. In other words, everyone is at risk of incurring the injury.
Depending on the severity of the problem, meniscus tear may be dealt with via a range of treatment options, from home remedies to surgery. But why go through such ordeal when the risk of meniscus tear can be considerably reduced? Carrying out some exercises that strengthen the muscles of the legs can keep the meniscus from ending up torn. Also, it’s very important to opt for proper techniques when engaging in sports or intense physical activities.
As mentioned above, the application of pressure on or the twisting action of the knee can cause a tear on the meniscus. Lifting heavy objects as well as deep squatting can also bring about meniscus tear. Those who engage in sports such as basketball, football and tennis are at high risk of ending up with the said problem.
Just because you are not a seasoned athlete doesn’t mean you are not at risk of the injury. There are many everyday activities that can cause much strain on the knees that could lead to the tearing of the meniscus. Adults and kids alike, if not careful, may suffer from meniscus tear. Older people are definitely at risk, too, due to the fact that the cartilage tends to weaken as the years pass by.
Signs and Symptoms
The moment that the meniscus tears, you may hear a popping sound in the knee area. Sometimes you may encounter a slipping or popping sensation each time you attempt to walk, an indicator that a piece of torn cartilage is out of place. Swelling is definitely one of the signs of meniscus tear. When the area is touched, there is pain. You will have a hard time moving your knee. It’s not unlikely for you to feel that the injured knee is weak and incapable of supporting you.
Sometimes the knee becomes locked, keeping you from being able to bend it. In such case, it’s important for you to see a doctor. Getting in touch with a specialist has to be done, too, if the signs and symptoms mentioned above occur after hurting your knee, or persists for several days following the injury.
As soon as the injury strikes, the affected knee should be given ample rest. The use of crutches is a good idea to keep the injured knee from having to support a lot of weight. Definitely, you should refrain from engaging in physical activities that cause unnecessary movement and pain to the knee.
To help reduce the swelling, wrap the affected area in an elastic bandage. When lying or sitting, have the affected knee elevated to keep swelling to a minimum. It is recommended to place an ice pack on the injured knee for 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours in order to reduce both pain and inflammation. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) available OTC may be taken to attain relief from the signs and symptoms.
Your doctor may recommend for you to undergo physical therapy to help reduce pain, increase mobility, and strengthen the muscles supporting the knee. If no favorable response is obtained via such treatment, surgery may be warranted to repair the torn meniscus or trim the loose cartilage away.