The following describes the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of meniscus tear. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
What is meniscus tear?
Each knee has two menisci, which are rubbery discs that keep your thighbone and shinbone from grinding against each other where they meet at the knee joint. They also spread your body weight across the knees, which allows you to glide or turn with stability. A minor meniscus tear may cause temporary pain or swelling that subsides with non-surgical care after a few weeks or a month, while a severe or complete tear can cause significant pain, stiffness, and catching or locking of the knee, to the degree that you are unable to straighten the leg.
What causes meniscus tear?
A tear in the meniscus is typically caused by twisting or overflexing the knee, heavy lifting, or slow degeneration of the cartilage in the affected joint. The tear may be accompanied by a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
What are the symptoms of meniscus tear?
At the time of the injury, you might actually hear a popping sound. Subsequently, you may experience stiffness, tenderness and swelling at the joint, accumulation of fluid in the joint, catching, locking or buckling of your knee, and/or pain while walking.
How is meniscus tear diagnosed?
Your Hurley physician will conduct a complete physical exam to assess flexibility, stability, range of motion and the level of pain you are experiencing. To pinpoint the location and severity of the injury, an MRI, x-rays or diagnostic arthroscopy may be ordered.
How is meniscus tear treated?
Since each tear is different in where it occurs and degree of injury, your Hurley physician will recommend a customized treatment approach. Your age, overall health and activity levels will also be taken into consideration. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) may be used to minimize pain. Non-surgical options include physical therapy, massage and electrical stimulation therapy.
Arthroscopic surgery, followed by a period of physical therapy, may be recommended if your symptoms do not subside over time or if the torn meniscus fails to heal. If the ACL is also injured, surgery to repair it will usually happen at the same time. In the case of very severe or complete tears, a total knee replacement may be recommended.