Learn More About the Causes and Treatments for a Torn Meniscus

A torn meniscus is a common knee injury that can occur due to any activity that causes you to forcefully rotate or twist your knee when putting total weight on it. The meniscus is a c-shaped piece of cartilage between the shinbone and thigh bone in your knees. If you have a meniscus tear West Chester, you may experience pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected knee. You may also have difficulties extending your knee to full length.

If you have torn your meniscus, it might take up to 24 hours before you experience pain and swelling. Other possible signs you may develop in your knee include a popping sensation and feeling a block to knee motion. Home remedies such as rest, cold compresses, and medications are sometimes enough to alleviate the symptoms. However, sometimes a ton meniscus may require surgery.

What causes a meniscus tear?

Any activity involving forceful twisting or rotating your knee can cause a meniscus tear. For example, sudden stops and turns, aggressive pivoting, lifting something heavy, deep squatting, and kneeling. Sometimes degenerative changes that occur as you grow older can contribute to a torn meniscus with little or no trauma.

Although anyone can tear their meniscus, people who engage in activities that involve aggressive twisting of the knee are more susceptible. The risk is incredibly high for athletes who play contact sports such as football or activities such as basketball and tennis that involve pivoting. Obese individuals and older people are also at a higher risk of a meniscus tear.

Treatment for a torn meniscus

Providers often begin with conservative treatment depending on your tear’s type, size, and location. If your tear is associated with arthritis, your doctor may recommend medications to treat arthritis, and symptoms may improve over time. Most tears that don’t cause a block to knee motion become less painful with time and often don’t require surgery.

As the first line of treatment, your doctor may recommend that you rest. You may need to avoid activities that aggravate the pain, such as rotating and twisting your pain. If your pain is severe, your provider may recommend using crutches to take pressure off your knee. Cold compressions for 15 minutes every four to six hours can help reduce pain and swelling. Your provider may also advise that you take over-the-counter painkillers to ease knee pain.

Physical therapy helps strengthen the muscles around your knee and in your legs. Sometimes the knee remains painful despite rehabilitative treatment. In such cases, surgery may be an option to ease symptoms and improve function. Repairing a torn meniscus is sometimes possible for children and younger adults. If your tear can’t be repaired, your provider may trim the meniscus using arthroscopy. Exercise after surgery is essential to increase and maintain knee stability and strength.

People seek emergency care because of the pain and disability of a torn meniscus. If you have knee pain, book a session with your doctor at Ronald Hess, MS, for treatment to improve your knee function.

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