Meniscus Injury. How, Why, What to Do?
The meniscus is a C shaped piece of fibroid cartilage localized inside the knee joint. Its main function is to act as a shock absorbing structure between bones and protect the articulation. The meniscus also helps lubricate the knee and limits its capacity to flex and extend itself.
Even-though meniscus ruptures are a common sports’ injury, they are mainly caused by a quick deceleration with a pivoting point. About 80% of the time, there is no contact involved.
- The injury is normally followed by a “pop” sound
- Pain in the knee when walking
- Joint closure
- A tickling sensation in the knee
- Difficulty to squat
- Swelling of the knee
When a meniscus injury occurs, you must go to an orthopedic doctor who will make an exam that includes a McMurray test: laying down with your head facing the ceiling, the doctor holds the ankle of your injured leg (bended). Some pressure is applied then to compress it while you execute a rotation. When a click sound or pain arises at the interior part of the knee, it normally indicates a meniscal internal rupture.
In another test, Apley’s compression, the doctor will make you lay down facing the examination table. Then while holding your knee in a 90-degree angle, the orthopedic surgeon will rotate your feet and press it down at the same time. Pain will indicate a possible injury.
Other tests can be performed to show a meniscus injury:
- Knee MRI
- Knee X-ray exam
Treatments are normally focused on reducing symptoms and protecting the joint from a more dramatic injury. You should avoid resting your body pressure on the knee and it might be even possible that you will need to use crutches during the healing process. An orthopedic device can also be placed to immobilized the joint and avoid further complications.
Other treatments include:
- Ice to reduce swelling
- Non-steroid anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce swelling and pain
Physical activities are permitted as long as you can tolerate them. However, therapy is always recommended to help the knee recover its strength.
If pain is constant or you are an active athlete, your orthopedic surgeon will possibly recommend a knee arthroscopy.
You should consult your doctor if symptoms occur after a knee injury. Also, consult your doctor if you are receiving treatment and:
- Pain or swelling return
- Instability increases in the joint
- You think your injury is not improving
- Your knee is stuck and you cannot flex it
Surgeon’s Advice | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201 Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119