Everything one needs to know about meniscus tear

In some cases a piece of cartilage may get caught in the knee joint and lock it up. In such cases it will be better to consult the matter with a knee injury doctor and act according to his advice.

Knee injury doctor

Like other knee injuries the meniscus tear is also very painful and debilitating.  Unfortunately, it is the most frequent cartilage injuries related to the knees. Now what is meniscus?  It is a cartilage in the knee that acts as a cushion and helps in stabilizing the knee joint. It also protects the bones   and keeps them safe from wear and tear. But even then, a good twist of your knee with load on it can tear the meniscus.

Meniscus tear is common in sports like football and in sport that require jumping and cutting like in volleyball in knee pain. If a person changes direction while running this can happen. It often occurs along with other knee injuries like ACL injury. As meniscus weakens with age meniscus tear can easily happen in older athletes. It is estimated that 40 % of people over 65 years of age are supposed to have torn meniscuses.

Diagnosis

A torn meniscus is often identified by physical examination. Doctor might move the knee in different positions. He might also watch how you are walking and ask you to try squatting. This will help him to pinpoint the exact causes and symptoms.

X-ray: As the meniscus is composed of cartilage it will not be shown in X-ray imaging. But it can be used to rule out the possibility of other symptoms.

MRI: In MRI scans radio waves are used which are produced with the help of strong magnetic field. Images of both the soft and hard tissues are obtained and with the help of these images the physician will be able to identify the problem and its probable causes.

Arthroscopy

In some cases, the physician may use an instrument known as arthroscope and examine the inside of the joint. An incision near the knee joint is made and through this incision the instrument is inserted. The device contains a small camera and light. Through the arthroscope or through other incisions the instruments needed to carryout surgical repairs in your knee joint are inserted.

Knee pain Treatment

Treatment for torn meniscus is often carried out in a conservative manner. It depends on the size, type and location of the problem. In the case of tears caused as a result of arthritis, it improves as time passes or as the treatment of arthritis proceeds. So no surgery is necessitated in such cases. Similarly other knee injuries in which block to the motion or locking is not felt, also improves overtime and do not require any surgical procedures. Considering the graveness of the case the doctor might suggest any or all of the following.

Rest: It will be better if you can take more rest during the treatment period and avoid activities that cause twisting, rotation etc of the joint.  If pain is severe it will be better to use crutches while walking so that excessive pressure can be relived and healing can be promoted.

Ice: Ice is very good for reducing swelling and pain. A towel filled with ice cubes or a bag of frozen vegetables can be kept on the knee keeping it in elevated position. Do it every six hours for one or two days or till relief from pain is obtained.

Medication: Over the counter pain relievers are available and they have been found to be useful in controlling the pain.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy has been found to be very good in strengthening the muscles in the knee joint and in your leg and help to stabilize the knee joint.  In the initial days of physiotherapy help from a therapist is needed. Once you get used to it you can do it yourself avoiding the help of physiotherapist.

Surgery: When conventional methods of treatment do not yield any fruitful results, knee pain doctors Woodbridge, VA may suggest surgical procedures for eliminating the problem permanently. Repairing of meniscus is possible in children and in young people. If repairing is not possible, the surgeon might suggest surgical trimming    with the help of an arthroscope. After surgery the patient need to do exercise regularly or undergo physiotherapy till the full functionality of the knee joint is restored.

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