A torn meniscus is one of the most common orthopaedic injuries. Located in the knee, the meniscus is a piece of cartilage that cushions the area between your shinbone and thigh bone. Each knee actually has two, c-shaped menisci. They act to absorb shock in the knee joint. When the knee is twisted or rotated with force, a tear in the meniscus result. This can cause a significant amount of pain in the knee.
- swelling or stiffness in the knee joint
- feeling of a “popping” sensation during a forceful twist of the knee
- the sensation that your knee is “locked” in place, unable to move
- difficulty straightening the knee
- feeling substantial pain while rotating the knee
- sensation of weakness or the knee giving out
Diagnosis of Torn Meniscus
If you fear you have suffered a tear in your meniscus, seeking evaluation by an orthopaedic surgeon can help determine the proper treatment options. An orthopaedic surgeon can assess your injury by observing you walk and might manipulate your knee in different positions. Use of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could be used for this evaluation as it will produce images of hard and soft tissue, unlike an x-ray.
Once a torn meniscus has been diagnosed, your doctor can provide a treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the tear, the options could range from simple rest to surgical intervention. Taking pressure off you knee will help promote healing. In addition, avoid any twisting motion of the knee. Over the counter medications can relieve pain and use of ice can help decrease the swelling. Physical therapy may be a part of your treatment plan to strengthen the muscles around the knee and provide more support and stability. If these more conservative approaches to treatment aren’t effective, surgery might be necessary.