Meniscus Tears in the Knee - What is it?

Knee injury is one of the most commonly reported injuries in the sports industry. Although athletes are more prone to injuries of the knees, ordinary people can also experience knee pain at some point in their lives. Meniscus tears in the knee are the most common types of knee injuries that people experience.

Anatomy of the knee

The knee structure is composed of two bone ends – the thigh bone (femur) and the shinbone (tibia)- and two curved cartilages, also known as the menisci. The menisci act as a cushion between the two bones. It absorbs pressure from movement and provides stability to the knees.

Causes of meniscus tears

Meniscus tears happen in a moment’s notice when the person is involved in active sports or when he twists, bends, rotates, or lifts heavy objects. Meniscus tears can also occur due to wear and tear over time.  Knee pain often lasts and worsens after a few days.

Risk factors

People who perform activities involving the knee to bend or twist more than necessary are at risk for meniscus tears.

  • Athletes have a high risk of tearing their menisci. Direct contact, such as in football, can cause a tear in the meniscus.
  • Dancers are also prone to this kind of knee injury as they bend, twist, and put pressure on the knee while doing their dance moves and routines.
  • Older adults are also at risk of knee injuries, including meniscus tears. Aging and degenerative diseases in older people cause damages to the knee cartilage.
  • Previous knee injuries can also contribute to the lacerations to the menisci.

Signs and symptoms

The first sign of meniscus tear is knee pain. Some people reported a popping sensation on the knee when the injury happened. Other symptoms of Meniscus tear include the following:

  • Knee pain
  • Difficulty moving the knees
  • Swelling on the affected knee
  • Feeling like the knee is locked
  • Stiffness and difficulty straightening the knee
  • A feeling that the knee will break down

Athletes don’t immediately realize they have a torn meniscus. They can continue to play sports even with the injury. Most people can still walk with a torn meniscus. It usually takes several days for the inflammation and stiffness to become more noticeable.

If the person keeps on putting too much movement and pressure on the affected knee, a part of the meniscus could fall off and drift towards the joints. This could cause more severe symptoms, including locking the knee, painful knee popping, and slipping knee cap.

Diagnosing torn meniscus

The chiropractor will ask questions about your medical history. He/She will assess your symptoms and will perform a physical exam. The doctor will check the affected knee for signs of inflammation and tenderness along the joint line.

To get a more accurate diagnosis and to rule out other damages to surrounding tissues, the doctor may require an MRI or an Xray to see if it is a case of osteoarthritis.




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