Cartilage and Meniscus Injuries
A cartilage and meniscus injuries can get better on its own without treatment, but it can take a while to heal. Sometimes, physiotherapy may be recommended to help reduce pain and improve movement and strength in the knee. If the damage is severe, you may need arthroscopy surgery to repair or remove the damaged cartilage.
It is a very common knee injury, especially among athletes. Sudden twisting movements — such as pivoting to catch a ball — can tear the cartilage. People with arthritis in their knees are also more prone to meniscus tears.
A torn meniscus is a very common knee injury. Often, athletes and people who play sports for fun suffer meniscus tears. The injury also commonly affects older people and those with arthritis in their knees.
People who play sports (like tennis, soccer, basketball or football) that involve sudden twisting movements are most likely to tear a meniscus. Playing contact sports also increases your risk of a meniscus tear. Getting hit or tackled can make you twist your knee, tearing the cartilage.
Causes of Cartilage and Meniscus injuries
Most often, the cartilage and meniscus injuries during a sudden motion in which your knee twists while your foot stays planted on the ground. The tear frequently occurs while playing sports. People whose cartilage wears down (due to age or arthritis) can tear a meniscus from a motion as simple as stepping on an uneven surface. Sometimes, degeneration from arthritis causes a tear, even without a knee injury.
Symptoms of Cartilage and Meniscus injuries
People who tear a meniscus often feel like something has popped in their knee at the time of the injury. Other symptoms include:
- Feeling like your knee might give out beneath you.
- Having knee pain or stiffness or a swollen knee.
- Being unable to fully bend or straighten your leg.
Orthopedic Specialist at Shreya Hospital will physically examine your knee, looking for signs of swelling. They will test your range of motion. You may also get imaging tests, such as X-rays or an MRI, to assess the damage.
Your provider may recommend knee arthroscopy to better view and accurately diagnose your injury. During this procedure, the surgeon inserts a tiny camera (called an arthroscope) through a small incision into your knee.
Depending on the size and location of your meniscus tear, it may heal without surgery. Your healthcare provider may recommend taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicine (such as ibuprofen or aspirin) to relieve pain and reduce swelling. In the days following your injury, you should also follow the RICE protocol. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.
- Rest: Keep your weight off the injured knee as much as possible.
- Ice: Place an ice pack on your knee for about 20 minutes, several times a day.
- Compression: Wrap your knee with a compression bandage to help reduce swelling.
- Elevation: Rest with your leg raised higher than your heart to decrease swelling.
More serious meniscus tears may not heal on their own. If your injury doesn’t improve with RICE, NSAIDs and physical therapy, your healthcare provider may recommend arthroscopic surgery.
Surgery is a very effective way to repair a torn meniscus. If the tear is too big to repair, your surgeon may remove all or part of the meniscus. After recovery, your knee will be more stable, and you’ll be less likely to develop additional knee problems.