Meniscus Injury (Medial or Lateral)
The meniscus is made up of a medial meniscus and a lateral meniscus. Each is a crescent-shaped piece of rubbery cartilage in the knee that absorbs shock between the shinbone and the thigh bone. When the knee twists suddenly while bearing weight, the meniscus can tear leading to symptoms like pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Meniscus injuries are some of the most common knee injuries, and they make up around 15% of all sports related injuries. We’ve treated countless meniscus injuries at MOTUS, especially in sports like football, volleyball, and skiing. Meniscus tears are commonly the result of rough contact. Because males are generally more involved in aggressive sports like football, it’s more common to see a meniscus injury in male athletes. Both the lateral and medial meniscus can be partially or completely torn at the time of injury, with medial tears being more common. The tear to the meniscus could be acute or chronic. Chronic cases generally occur to a knee that is compromised by a degenerative meniscus, and usually happens in elderly people.
A meniscus repair requires 6 weeks of non-weight bearing for proper healing. This may be difficult for some people, but in the long-run this is great for your knee. On the other end, a menisectomy can be fully rehabbed in 4-6 weeks, but now that area where the meniscus has been removed has a higher susceptibility to bone on bone contact and can lead to knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Since our specialty is movement and sports medicine, we tend to see more acute meniscus injuries at MOTUS. This type of tear is usually the result of a sports-related injury;
and can happen to an otherwise healthy meniscus. An injury to a healthy knee may be considered a traumatic meniscal tear. In this instance, the injury is caused by an excessive force to the player, causing a forced movement of the knee or a knee sprain. Most often, we find that the mechanism of injury is a twist of the knee on a weight bearing limb. Injury sometimes occurs along with injuries to ligaments like the ACL or PCL.
With an acute meniscus injury, we can sometimes hear a clicking sound in the knee. The injury might also cause the knee to lock. The clicking and locking symptoms are a side effect of the unstable, torn fragment. Patients who have experienced a traumatic meniscal tear generally experience knee pain, tenderness, and swelling, as well.
There are many different types of meniscus injuries, which are distinguished by where the meniscus is torn and how severely. Part of a complete treatment for a meniscus tear is a careful diagnosis, which might need clinical tests as well as a physical examination.
In some cases, a meniscus injury will need surgery, but not always. Some patients with an incomplete tear can recover with physical therapy that targets the strengthening of the quadriceps. We may also treat a meniscus injury with cryotherapy or compression therapy. As always, our goal in treating your injury is not just to make you feel better for a short while, but to help you heal by learning to move in a safer and better pattern. We will work on strengthening and