The meniscus is a C-shaped disc of cartilage found in the knee, specifically between the femur (the thigh bone) and the tibia (the calf bone). Thanks to its flexible but strong tissue, the meniscus works as a kind of shock absorber of the bones that make up this joint, that is, it is responsible for “absorbing” the blows and impacts so that the bones that make up the knee are healthy. However, when this area receives too many impacts for a long time or these are too strong, it gradually deteriorates until it suffers an injury.
Among the most common injuries, especially among athletes, are tears or tears of menicos, which are characterized by intense pain in the knee. But is there a difference between tearing and meniscus tearing, some may ask. It's actually the same injury called in two different ways. If you want to know more about this knee injury, keep reading this article where we talk about the causes and symptoms of meniscus tear or rupture.
Causes of a meniscus tear or tear
If you're still wondering the difference between meniscus tear and torn meniscus, the answer is that there is none since both terms refer to the same condition. A meniscus tear or tear is an injury that occurs when this cartilage disc located in the knee joint tears mainly due to a strong impact or gradual wear and tear of this kind of shock absorber.
Among the causes that can cause meniscus tear we find the following:
- Sprained knee due to improper twisting or falling, among others.
- Other injuries can lead to this tear such as a cruciate ligament in the anterior (around the patella) or a sprain in the medial collateral ligament.
- Lifting objects too heavy for our knees.
- Some sports such as football can also suffer this area due to sudden changes of direction or stop running suddenly.
- Hockey and rugby can also cause meniscus injuries since being contact sports, players receive too sudden impacts for their knees.
- Age is also a cause for tearing in the meniscus as over the years, the joints gradually degenerate.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear or tear
Depending on whether the tear that has occurred in the meniscus tear is mild or severe, the intensity and symptoms may vary. However, there are some symptoms with which this type of knee injury can be identified:
- Sharp pain in the center of the knee that intensifies when we try to sit or bend down (as if we were doing a squat). Also, when we press slightly on the cartilage area or try to walk.
- Inflammation and swelling in the meniscus area. You will notice warm skin with a reddish tone.
- A dry noise similar to the snap of fingers at the moment we suffer the tear.
- Little mobility of the knee joint being even blocked when we try to make some movement.
- A club of the knee, especially during the first days after suffering the rupture.
In this other article we discover the symptoms and treatment for meniscus tear.
How a Meniscus Tear Is Cured – Treatments
As with symptoms, treatments to heal this knee injury will vary depending on the severity of the tear.
Mild meniscus injury
In the event that the meniscus tear has been a minor injury, the treatments that your doctor will recommend will be the following:
- Ice packs: Water in the form of ice will help you reduce inflammation and relieve the pain of the injury, especially during the first few days. However, to apply the ice to the area, it is recommended that you use a cloth or compress to touch the skin directly. You can also use any bag of vegetables or frozen kibble in case you don't have ice at home.
- Rest: it is very important that the injured person rests as much as he can and tries to rest the knee. In the event that performing any movement it will be essential to use crutches to leave the weight on it and not on the knee.
- Understanding: once the first few days have passed, it is recommended that we perform compressions with elastic bandages to support the joint.
- Keep the leg elevated: Another way to reduce swelling in the meniscus by putting the leg up by placing a few pillows underneath for comfort.
Severe meniscus injury
In the event that the tear or tear of the meniscus has been a serious injury, the doctor will proceed to perform the following treatments:
- Surgical intervention: the first treatment in case of serious injury will be an intervention known as arthroscopic surgery, which consists of reconstructing this area of the knee.
- Brace: After surgery, many specialists will recommend these types of braces (such as crutches) to speed up the healing process.
- Physiotherapy sessions: another recurrent treatment is rehabilitation sessions that will help you both recover the mobility of the knee and strengthen the meniscus tissue.