The meniscus is the cartilage located inside your knee between the thigh bone and shinbone. The meniscus acts like a shock absorber for your knee and cushion knee joints. A meniscus tear can happen if you twist your knee suddenly or have arthritis. It is a common knee injury and mostly affects athletes. At the time of injury, a meniscus tear West Chester typically feels like something has popped into your knee. You may also experience knee pain or stiffness and difficulty fully bending or straightening your leg. Meniscus tears are treatable, and your doctor’s technique depends on your symptoms and the extent of your tear. There are many treatments for meniscus tears, which include:
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
The RICE regimen helps to alleviate various symptoms of a meniscus tear. Resting help reduce pain. Your healthcare provider may suggest using a cane for a few weeks to keep weight off your knee. In the first days after developing a meniscus tear, applying ice around the injury site and elevating your knee can help reduce swelling. A compression bandage can also help minimize swelling.
Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help reduce inflammation and pain resulting from a meniscus tear. Acetaminophen may be effective for pain but not inflammation.
After joint inflammation has subsided and you can walk with minimal pain, your doctor can recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy helps restore knee strength and flexibility. Stretching your knee and leg may help restore your knee’s full range of motion. Low-impact exercises like riding a stationary bike can help minimize pain, improve mobility and restore function. Small meniscus tears usually require approximately four to eight weeks of physical therapy, while severe ones need eight weeks or longer.
Corticosteroid injections can help minimize knee pain. They are injected directly into your knee to help reduce swelling and discomfort. Your doctor may combine corticosteroid injection with a small amount of anesthesia to help alleviate pain immediately, but it can resume after a few hours. You can only have corticosteroid injections for a short period, as long-term use may weaken your knee soft tissues and cartilage. Corticosteroid injections are unsuitable for diabetic patients or individuals with other metabolic issues because they can increase blood sugar levels.
various surgical procedures can help repair your meniscus tear, depending on the extent of the damage. These surgeries include:
Partial meniscectomy is a commonly used surgical procedure for a meniscus tear. This procedure involves your surgeon trimming off the torn part of your meniscus tear, leaving behind as much healthy meniscus tissue as possible.
Meniscus repair involves your surgeon stitching back the torn part of the meniscus. Surgeons mostly use the procedure in younger patients because the tissues need time to heal together. The recovery period for meniscus repair is longer than that of partial meniscectomy. After meniscus repair, your doctor can recommend you use crutches for about two weeks and a brace for six weeks.
A meniscus tear is caused by sudden knee twisting or arthritis. Rest, ice, compression, elevation. Medications, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery can help treat meniscus tears. Schedule an appointment at Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for meniscus tear treatment to relieve knee pain.