Meniscus tears are among the most common knee injuries. Athletes, particularly those who play contact sports, are at risk for meniscus tears, most often related to trauma. However, anyone at any age can tear a meniscus.
In the older adult, the tear may be due to a natural age-related degeneration of the meniscus or a rough arthritic femoral bone surface tearing into the softer meniscus. In this case, surgery may be required to attend to both the meniscal repair and to repair the damaged joint surface.
Your knee meniscus is a fibrocartilage that separates thigh bone (femur) from your shin bone (tibia). It is commonly referred to as your "cartilage". Each knee joint has a medial meniscus and a lateral meniscus.
Our meniscus acts like a wedge to assist with the rotational stability created by the anterior cruciate ligament. The meniscus also acts as a shock absorber.
If you tear your meniscus, You might feel a "pop" during the traumatic event. Not all meniscus tear provoque an audible sound. You may also experience swelling, pain, limited range of motion, catching or locking sensation.
Depending on the location of the tear, your meniscus might heal differently due to the blood supply. The outside of the cartilage has more blood supply, therefore can heal better naturally. On the other hand, the inside of the meniscus gets the nutrition mostly from the synovial fluid and doesn’t heal naturally.
Depending on the type of meniscus tear, the location of the tear, age and function of the injured person, you can imagine that not all meniscus tears require surgery.
With an orthopedic opinion and assessment with related imaging (MRI), the Md will be able to direct you toward a conservative or surgical approach.
Physiotherapy can help you control the symptoms and guide you toward the full rehabilitation of your knee. Researchers have discovered that if you strengthen your leg muscles, your bone stresses will reduce as your muscle strength improves and your knee becomes more dynamically stable.
RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), manual therapy, soft tissue release, individualized exercise program are all great methods to help you go through your rehab with the guidance of your physiotherapist.