A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.
Each of your knees has two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone (menisci). A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. You also might feel a block to knee motion and have trouble extending your knee fully.
If you have torn your meniscus, you may have the following signs and symptoms in your knee:
- Swelling or stiffness
- Pain, especially when twisting or rotating your knee.
- A popping sensation or a painful clicking sensation.
- Difficulty straightening your knee fully.
- Feeling as though your knee is locked in place when you try to move it.
- Feeling of your knee giving way
A torn meniscus can result from any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, such as aggressive pivoting or sudden stops and turns. Even kneeling, deep squatting or lifting something heavy can sometimes lead to a torn meniscus.
In older adults, degenerative changes of the knee can contribute to a torn meniscus with little or no trauma.
Performing activities that involve aggressive twisting and pivoting of the knee puts you at risk of a torn meniscus. The risk is particularly high for athletes — especially those who participate in contact sports, such as football, or activities that involve pivoting, such as tennis or basketball.
Wear and tear on your knees as you age increases the risk of a torn meniscus. Obesity also increases the risk.
Most meniscal tears can be diagnosed with the History and thorough Physical Examination. The diagnosis is often confirmed by doing an X-ray and an MR Scan.
Non-invasive treatment like rest, ice, elevation and NSAIDs can sometimes be enough to relieve the pain of a torn meniscus, allowing time to heal on its own.
However, most of the significant tears will require surgical treatment in the form of a Keyhole Surgery (Arthroscopy) either to trim/resect the torn part or occasionally to repair the torn meniscus.
If you undergo an arthroscopy for a torn meniscus, your surgeon, Mr Mohan will supervise your postoperative care with the Physiotherapists with a tailored Exercise Programme. Rest, Ice, NASIDs/Painkillers, elastic support and graduated movements will be needed in the first week after the surgery. For an excellent outcome, it is very important to comply with the specific instructions and exercise programme.