Meniscal tears occur in the tough knee cartilage responsible for cushioning the knee joint and absorbing shock.
Frequent causes of meniscal tears include:
Meniscal tears are considered one of the the most common knee injuries.
Athletes are more likely than nonathletes to develop a meniscal tear. Among athletes, those participating in contact sports are at an additional risk for developing this injury.
When left untreated, meniscal tears can lead to significant joint and mobility trouble.
Meniscal tears can progress over time and inhibit activity levels — including walking — and cause a great deal of pain. This weakness in one or both knees can cause additional muscle injuries because of the strain of over-correcting.
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Meniscal tear symptoms usually occur immediately following an injury or twist and intensify if not treated.
Commonly reported symptoms of a torn meniscus include:
Your doctor will carefully collect your medical history and conduct a comprehensive physical exam. This aims to help differentiate people with a meniscus tear from those with knee pain from other sources and causes.
Based on the results of your history and exam, your doctor may order further testing.
Common diagnostic tests for a torn meniscus include:
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The goals of treatment for meniscal tears, though largely individualized, primarily focus on:
Treatment choices include both nonsurgical treatment options and surgical procedures, based on individual symptoms, medical history, and activity goals.
The most common nonsurgical treatment options for meniscal tears include:
Popular surgical reparative techniques aim to sew the torn area of the meniscus back together.
Two common surgical procedures are:
Treatments for meniscal tears have shown to be very effective in preserving knee function and mobility. If you suspect a meniscal tear or another knee injury, report this to your doctor right away.
Following any sort of surgical treatment of a meniscal tear, you will have to eliminate all weight bearing activities for three to six months, depending on your symptoms and medical history.
Rest periods and breaks from weight bearing activities are especially important for those hoping to return to physical activities. Defying doctors’ orders of rest can lead to further difficulties and related complications.
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