Meniscus Tears: Common, Painful, and Restricting
The Meniscus and How It Gets Torn
In every knee there are two separate pieces of cartilage called the menisci. This cartilage acts like a pillow between the upper and lower legs. When one of the menisci gets torn it is usually due to a quick or forceful sudden movement. Commonly it occurs in athletes who quickly twist on the knee, sometimes after a quick stop from a run. Occasionally when someone is lifting a very heavy object from a squat a menisci can get torn. Of course age can play a part, as the menisci degenerates over time weakening them and making them more susceptible to damage.
The Signs Of A Torn Meniscus
There a few common signs of tears in the meniscus. Some patients may experience one or all of the below symptoms.
Tests Used For Diagnosis
A physician can use many different tests to diagnose a torn meniscus. X-ray is one of the most common first steps in diagnosing knee problems. While soft tissue, like cartilage doesn’t usually show up on an x-ray it will highlight other potential problems in the knee that may be causing the symptoms. An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or an ultrasound will help the doctor “see” if there is any parts of the meniscus that is loose or torn. As a last resort orthopedic specialists will perform an arthroscopy, which is procedure that places a tiny camera into the knee through a very small incision. If the physician sees a problem, they can actually use tools that are placed through the arthroscope to make a repair to the meniscus.
Calling A Physician Means Proper Treatment
Anytime a tear to the meniscus is suspected the best course of action is to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. While the specialist may just recommend rest, ice or physical therapy they can also prescribe pain or anti-inflammatory medication. A doctor also will be able to help a patient decide if surgery is required to eliminate or alleviate the swelling, pain, or stiffness. If you are experiencing any of the signs of a torn meniscus you should make an appointment right away with one of the orthopedic physiciansat the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute.
This information is not intended to provide advise or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s).