Meniscus is a form of tough cartilage tissue found at the end of the bones that forms a joint. For example the knee joint consists of two menisci, one on thighbone and the other of shine bone. Meniscus on the inner side of the knee joint is medial meniscus and the one on the outer side of the knee is known as the lateral meniscus. Meniscus is semicircular in shape and performs the function of shock absorbers in a joint. Injuries may be caused to the meniscus as a result of trauma caused in sport injuries, accidents etc. Meniscus injuries are categorized into two categories. They are degenerative tears and acute tears.
Degenerative tears: As a person ages there is every possibility that his meniscus may weaken and become less elastic. Such meniscus may become torn when a little extra pressure is applied to it. There may not be any symptoms in the initial stages and it may degenerate and become acute tears. It is found that about 60 % of people above the age of 65 have torn menisci.
Acute tears: Acute tears of the meniscus occur when the knee is forcefully twisted. This usually happens in a sports injury or in a motor vehicle accident.
Symptoms of torn meniscus
- Pain in the knee
- Swelling in the knee
- Tenderness when pressed
- Limited mobility of the joint
A patient with a knee pain will be examined to see whether there is any tearing in the menisci. A detailed study of the case history and physical examination can result in the preliminary finding of the tear in the menisci. A detailed investigation with the help of X-rays and MRI scans will help the doctor to confirm the existence of a tear in the menisci.
The area of the tear and the type of the tear are two important factors which have considerable impact on the treatment options for meniscus tears. Conventional treatment options like medication and bed rest will be tried out first. If satisfactory results are not produced by this method then surgical procedure will be opted.