Whether you have personally dealt with a torn meniscus or have a phobia of a potential knee injury, this article will hopefully guide you through the trials and tribulations of what to expect when diagnosed, what your options are, and how to prevent one in the future.
First of all, there are many ways to stumble upon this type of injury. Whether it is a traumatic accident or age is getting the best of you, stay tuned to the following symptoms, in order to seek medical attention in a timely fashion.
1) Knee pain and swelling
2) Tender to the touch of the meniscus
3) Limited range of motion
4) Popping or clicking when moving the knee
As I state in all my articles, the sooner you recognize and seek medical attention, the better off you will be. Treatment for a knee injury can be tricky and complex depending on the severity of the tear. Factors that will sway the doctor’s treatment plan will depend of activity level of the patient, severity of the tear, and direct response to simple treatment methods such as rest, ice, physical therapy and ibuprofen. Also, many patients of a torn meniscus have found a knee brace to be their saving grace. It aims to support the damaged meniscus and aide in distributing your body weight without further damaging your knee.
If the doctor recommends surgery, the misconception is you will be dealing with a longer recovery, but in this instance, that is not necessarily the case. In best case scenario, a surgeon can sew the tear back together. In second worse case scenerio, you will undergo what is called a partial meniscectomy, where the surgeon will simply clip off the torn ridge of the meniscus rendering the torn piece unsavable as well will call it. In the absolute worst case scenerio, your entire meniscus cannot be saved and you will need a total meniscectomy where the surgeron will remove the meniscus completely. I say this is the absolutely worst case because once you remove the entire meniscus you are putting the patient at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knee. But, surgeons know best, right!
Because you have two menisci in each knee, there are always going to different types of tears, and options for recovery. What is most important is that you fully understand the type of tear you have and exactly what your options are because not all are created equal. Find what works best for you and your torn meniscus.
With that said, let’s discuss some prevention methods. Whether you have experienced a torn meniscus before and want to do everything in your power to protect the other three you have, or you are just prone to an injury like this because of the activities you participate in, these tips will be beneficial.
1) Keep your leg muscle strong and stretch daily
2) Make slow changes when increasing workout intensity
3) Keep your footwear up-to-date and be sure it has the right support for the activity you participate in
Just remember to always listen to your body and seek medical attention as soon as possible to start the recovery process.