Meniscus Tears

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Meniscus tears are one of the most common knee injuries, particularly among athletes. The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia) in each knee. Its primary function is to cushion the joint and distribute body weight evenly across the knee, reducing friction during movement.

Meniscus tears can occur from either a traumatic injury or due to degenerative changes over time. In younger individuals, these tears often result from a sudden twist or turn, especially when the foot is planted and the knee is bent. In older adults, meniscus tears might develop as a result of wear and tear, with even minimal rotation causing a tear in the weakened cartilage.

Symptoms of a meniscus tear include pain, swelling, stiffness, a feeling of the knee giving way, and restricted range of motion. Some people may also experience a “locking” sensation, where the knee gets stuck in a certain position due to a piece of torn cartilage obstructing joint movement.

Proper Diagnosis

Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination, along with imaging tests such as MRI to visualize the extent of the tear. Treatment depends on the size and location of the tear, the age and activity level of the patient, and the presence of any related injuries. Options range from conservative management, including rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.), to physical therapy and, in more severe cases, surgical intervention. Arthroscopic surgery is commonly used to either repair or remove the torn portion of the meniscus, aiming to preserve as much of the healthy cartilage as possible. Recovery and rehabilitation are crucial for restoring knee function and preventing future injuries.

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