What is a meniscal injury?
An injury to the meniscus, often called a torn meniscus, is a very common knee injury that often occurs during high-speed sports. The meniscus, which is a C-shaped cushion of cartilage on both sides of your knee, helps to protect the thighbone and shinbone from rubbing. When this cushion is torn, it can cause intense pain, swelling, stiffness, and inability to move in your full range of motion. The injury is generally caused by a sudden and forceful twisting or rotating of your knee, especially if your body weight is on the knee at the same time.
What causes a meniscal injury?
A meniscus tear occurs due to high-impact sports or activities, specifically those that cause you to forcefully or suddenly change directions. Other movements, such as squatting, kneeling, or heavy lifting can also cause extreme stress on the knee and result in a torn meniscus.
Over time, the meniscus can also lose its elasticity and strength and result in a “wear and tear” meniscal injury that has not been brought on by a sudden trauma. Instead, the pain gradually onsets and worsens over time.
What are the symptoms of a meniscal injury?
Symptoms that may warrant a visit to Performance Health to evaluate your knee condition include the following symptoms of a medial meniscus tear:
Difficulty twisting, rotating, or extending your knee
What are the risk factors for a meniscus injury?
Some factors that may increase your risk of suffering from a meniscal injury include the following:
Age – Patients with degenerative meniscal injuries tend to be over the age of 60, while injury-induced meniscal injuries tend to occur in younger people.
Gender – Studies show that men are more likely to suffer from a degenerative meniscal injury than women.
Sports – Sports like rugby and soccer that are high-impact and require sudden changes in direction increase the risk of a knee injury.
Workplace conditions – People who work in conditions that require heavy lifting, constant kneeling or squatting, or climbing many stairs are at a higher risk of meniscal injury.
How is a meniscal injury diagnosed?
There is no single meniscus tear test to diagnose a meniscal injury, however, the experienced professionals at Performance Health can diagnose your knee condition using a combination of diagnostic measures during a consultation. In addition to a simple physical exam, including analysis of the joint and symptoms, your physician may determine that one or more diagnostic tests are needed. These may include:
What are some torn meniscus treatment options?
Sometimes, a meniscal injury can be treated with conservative treatments, including:
In more serious cases, a torn meniscus requires therapy, and in even more severe instances, the knee must be repaired with meniscus surgery.