The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that cushions and stabilizes your knee joint, and protects the bones from wearing down. You can easily tear your meniscus if you bend or twist your knee the wrong way. Older people are especially vulnerable to these types of injuries, as the cartilage weakens with age. In fact, over 40% of people older than 65 have experienced a meniscus injury.
What Causes a Meniscus Injury?
Meniscus tears are common in contact sports like football, but can also occur to athletes who play volleyball and soccer, because of the jumping, cutting and running required by the games. However, meniscus injuries do not only affect those who are active. Bending or twisting your knee just right can tear the cartilage and cause an injury.
What Are Common Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear?
Like most knee injuries, a meniscus tear can be incredibly painful and debilitating. Common symptoms include:
- Knee Pain
- Popping Sensation During Injury
- Your Knee Locks or Gets Stuck
- Difficulty Bending and Straightening Your Leg
Typically, pain begins following inflammation.
To diagnose a meniscus tear or injury, your doctor will thoroughly examine the area and may perform an X-ray or MRI to rule out other causes. Treatment for these injuries depends on the size, severity and location of the tear.
The outer portion of your meniscus is known as the “red zone.” This part gets a good blood supply and if the tear is small, it can heal on its own. However, the inner two thirds are known as the “white zone,” due to their lack of blood supply that traditionally supplies healing nutrients. If your tear occurs in the white zone, your injury will not heal on its own.
Furthermore, if your meniscal tear does not require surgery, you can help expedite the healing by resting, elevating, and icing your knee, controlling the swelling with a bandage, taking anti-inflammatory medication and avoiding high impact activities.
Unfortunately, larger more severe tears often require surgery. The procedure is typically outpatient, and repairs or removes unstable edges of the cartilage. Additionally, you may need to wear a brace to help stabilize your knee after surgery, but most patients report excellent short term results. However, those with a large, unrepairable injury may be more prone to arthritis down the road.
Extremity and Joint Injury Treatment at Minivasive Pain
At Minivasive Pain, our mission is to treat the causes of your knee pain with the highest standards of both quality and care. Using minimally-invasive techniques to ensure maximum results and a speedy recovery, we’ll get you back to the joys of life in no time. Plus, we have several locations throughout the Greater Houston Area for your convenience. To schedule an appointment, please call (346) 800-6001.
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