A medial meniscus tear occurs on the semi-circular tissue that absorbs shock in the knee joint. Take note that this is typically damaged via direct impact during sports involving contact or twisted movements but can also develop among older individuals through steady degeneration.
A medial meniscus tear usually has a history of trauma or twisting of the knee at the time of injury, but can occur in a gradual manner through overuse or degeneration. Pain can be felt on the interior surface of the knee along the joint line. Knee swelling can occur within 48 hours after the injury in which the individual could not fully bend the knee.
In case the injury is severe, the individual might be unable to bear weight on the affected leg. The individual will also experience the feeling that the knee is locking or giving away.
Apley’s test or McMurray’s test can be utilized to help diagnose the knee cartilage injury. McMurray’s test involves rotating the leg with the knee bent. Any clicking or pain indicates a positive result. As for Apley’s test, it involves the compression of the cartilage meniscus while the individual is in the prone position. If there is pain, it indicates a positive result.
The immediate treatment is to use the PRICE method (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation). Once an injury to the cartilage meniscus has been diagnosed, it should be treated conservatively.
This usually depends on various factors including if the pain is increasing over time, the knee joint locks, has limited movement or if there are any possible connected injuries such as a sprain on the anterior cruciate ligament. In case the symptoms of the individual do not seem to improve after 3 weeks of conservative treatment, surgery might be the best option.
The PRICE method aims to reduce the swelling and pain. A knee support work by protecting the knee. During the initial 24-48 hours, when full rest is recommended, a standard elastic knee sleeve can be used. Later on, a knee brace with a hinged design is often recommended. To learn to recognize and manage knee injuries and conditions, enroll in a first aid class with Mississauga first aid today.
After the initial acute stage, mobility exercises and isometric quadriceps exercises will help hasten the rehabilitation. Take note that glucosamine or a joint supplement can be useful in healing cartilage injuries.
The doctor will confirm a diagnosis and will refer the individual for an MRI scan. NSAIDs or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can be prescribed during the early stages to help with the swelling and pain. Electrotherapy including laser therapy, ultrasound and TENS can also be beneficial.
The moment the initial pain and swelling has reduced, a full rehabilitation program involving mobility, strengthening and balance exercises must be completed.
In severe cases of medial meniscus tears, arthroscopic surgical procedures are required to repair the torn cartilage. The objective of surgery is to preserve as much of the meniscus cartilage as possible. The procedure typically involves stitching of the torn cartilage. A full rehabilitation program will be prescribed after surgery.