Meniscus tears can be an incredibly frustrating form of knee injury, especially to top athletes who are competing daily. Understanding the meniscus and having a bit of knowledge about the various treatment options available for meniscal tears will help you to make informed choices about the best path for you.
What Is a Meniscus Tear?
There are two menisci between your thigh and shin bones at your knee. They are tough C shaped pads of cartilage and one sits on the inner side of your knee, one on the outer. Menisci act as shock absorbers which help to distribute forces across the knee. In addition, menisci also stabilise the joint and protect the smooth ends of the bones from damage.
Tearing a meniscus is usually done by twisting or turning the knee too quickly with the foot on the ground but the knee bent. The menisci become much more prone to tearing in older people, or those who have worn them down significantly.
Treatment of a Meniscus Tear
Meniscal tears usually cause pain, catching and giving way. The knee often swells.
If you do require surgery, the surgeon will usually remove a small part of the torn meniscus, or repair the damaged meniscus. If they decide to remove it, they will need to trim away damaged areas whereas if they repair the meniscus it will involve using sutures.
All meniscus tears can be operated on arthroscopically which means the surgery is minimally invasive and usually Day Surgery with a rapid recovery.
Recovery from Meniscus Tears
As mentioned, the size and nature of the tear will dictate the repair option for you. However there are some important factors which should be considered to speed up your recovery:
- Rest – always allow your body time to rest after any type of surgery
- Physical Therapy – commit to your rehabilitation program and always ensure you complete the exercises given to you.
Sports Medicine Australia have prepared a guide to the prevention and management of Meniscus Injury which is a valuable resource for any athlete looking to educate themselves when it comes to their knee health.