A torn meniscus is considered as a common injury that affects the knees. Any physical activity that triggers a person to coil or revolve the knee that involves substantial pressure can result to a torn meniscus.
The knees are composed of two menisci which are the C-shaped pieces of cartilages that function similar to a cushion between the shinbone and the thighbone. A torn meniscus causes stiffness, swelling and pain as well as difficulty in extending the knee fully. The treatment options include rest, application of ice and medications. These are enough to relieve the pain caused by a torn meniscus but sometimes a torn meniscus would require surgical intervention.
Signs and symptoms include the following:
- Stiffness and swelling
- There is popping sensation in the knees
- There is difficulty in positioning the knees in a straight position
- A sensation as if the knees are locked in place and cannot be moved.
- There is pain especially when twisting or making a rotating action of the knees.
A torn meniscus is usually caused by any physical activity that forcefully twists and rotates the knee such as doing a pivot or sudden stop and turns as well as kneeling, lifting heavy things or deep squatting. The degenerative changes in adults due to the aging process can also cause a torn meniscus.
A torn meniscus will cause knee instability and there is inability to move the knee normally or there is continuous pain in the knee. In some case, osteoarthritis can develop in the injured area.
People that perform activities that involve forceful twisting and pivoting of the knee face a higher risk for a torn meniscus and it is common in athletes that play contact sports such as tennis, basketball and football. As the person gets older, he/she has high risk for getting a torn meniscus due to the wearing and tearing of the knees.
Treatment and home remedies
- Allow the knee to rest is vital as part of the treatment.
- The affected person can use crutches to eliminate the pressure caused by the torn meniscus.
- Apply an ice compress on the knee for 15 minutes every four to six hours in order to reduce swelling. You can learn more about the effectiveness of ice therapy by enrolling in a course on first aid today.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen if pain is severe
- The individual should wear shoe inserts in order to reduce the stress on the knee.
Prevention of torn meniscus
In order to prevent a torn meniscus, the individual should stay away from activities that involved the knee such as playing contact sports that requires pivoting or twisting of the knee.
Performing some exercises is a way of protecting the knee, after a tear has healed. Start a strength training routine steadily and learn the form and always use protective gear. With the help of a physical therapist, he/she can help develop the correct routine.