What Is a Meniscus Tear?
Meniscus tears are the most common knee injuries that exist. All it takes is the wrong twist of the knee at the right time to tear one. The meniscus is a section of cartilage between the shinbone and thighbone. When it tears, it can slip into the knee joint, causing the knee to lock up.
While age deteriorates the meniscus cartilage naturally, people at risk for conditions like osteoarthritis stand a higher chance of tearing it when they put all their weight onto it and twist the knee the wrong way.
Causes and Symptoms
Meniscus tears occur with any twisting, rotating, and pivoting of the knees. Sudden bursts of activity and sudden stopping are often seen in sports like baseball and basketball. These can easily cause the cartilage to tear, especially if someone overweight exerts too much pressure on their knees.
Simple activities like squatting, sprinting, and lifting heavy weights can also tear this cartilage. You can easily detect a meniscus tear by looking for any of the following:
- A popping sound when the knee is moved
- Intense pain when moving the knee
- Feeling like the knee is locked in position
- Feeling like your knee is about to buckle under your weight
- Swelling and stiffness
- Limited range of movement in the knee
Home Care for a Meniscus Tear
The following are ways to care for a meniscus tear at home before you come in for a corrective procedure:
- Rest and Relaxation: Avoid aggravating the injury any further and make sure to rest your knees using padded support like pillows to keep them stable. If you must walk, use crutches to lift your body weight away from your knees.
- Ice and Compression: Use a cold compress 15 minutes every hour for 5 hours to allow the swelling to reduce. Managing the pain and swelling is essential immediately after injury.
- Elevation and Medication: Hold your knees higher by stuffing pillows below them. Whether lying down or sitting, it’s important to keep the injury elevated to prevent swelling. Over-the-counter pain medication can provide immediate short-term relief while you pick a plan of action.
Two key diagnostic methods are used to ensure that the issue being experienced is a meniscus tear:
- X-Rays: While cartilage isn’t visible on an X-Ray, this diagnostic tool is essential for ruling out other injuries that can mask themselves as meniscus pain.
- MRI: An MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to map out the status of your tissues. This can help pinpoint if your meniscus cartilage is torn or not.
Medical Treatment Options
Arthroscopy is the most common treatment used for knee injuries. First, a small device with a camera and light is inserted into your knees via tiny incisions. The camera broadcasts its feed onto a high-definition monitor to allow a medical professional to diagnose the inside of your knees and arrive at a solution. Surgery can then be performed through this device to address the torn cartilage.
While this has been the accepted method for some time, regenerative therapy has been gaining traction as an effective solution for meniscus tears. This state-of-the-art method can rejuvenate the tissue of the meniscus rather than simply repair it like traditional surgical options.
During this treatment, injections of natural regenerative material are delivered to the injured site, aiding in the healing process. This method can support and rebuild the meniscus over a period of time, providing results completely unlike those of any other therapy.
Schedule a Consultation
California Regenerative Clinic provides regenerative medicine to treat meniscus tears and a variety of other conditions. To find out more, set up your consultation with Dr. Victor Liu by contacting our office.