If you're an athlete or are physically active, there's a good chance you've had or met someone who has had a meniscus tear. The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that functions as a cushion between the thigh bone and shinbone. A meniscus tear occurs when this piece of cartilage gets torn or damaged, often causing painful symptoms to develop. This common knee condition can cause a variety of symptoms including intense pain and difficulty using the affected knee.
What are some common causes of meniscus tears?
While there are many different potential causes for meniscus tears, these are some of the most common.
- Athletes who participate in sports that involve quick changes of direction, such as soccer, basketball, and football, are at a higher risk of developing meniscus tears.
- As we age, the meniscus can weaken and become more prone to tearing.
- Certain conditions such as osteoarthritis can weaken the meniscus and make it more susceptible to tears.
- Direct trauma to the knee, such as a fall or car accident, can also cause meniscus tears.
What treatment methods are available?
The treatment your physician would recommend for a meniscus tear depends on the severity of the tear as well as your overall health. Some common treatments include
- Resting the knee and applying ice to the area can help reduce pain and swelling.
- A physical therapist can help you develop exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve your range of motion.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling.
- If the tear is severe, surgery may be necessary to repair or remove the damaged part of the meniscus.
Is there a way to avoid meniscus tears?
While it's not always possible to avoid meniscus tears, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of a tear developing.
- Strong leg muscles can help support the knee and reduce the risk of injury.
- Wear shoes that provide adequate support for your feet and ankles.
- Before engaging in physical activity, warm up with light stretching and exercises. Make sure to cool down by doing some more stretches afterward.
- If you participate in sports, use the proper form and techniques to avoid injury.
How common are meniscus tears?
Meniscus tears are common knee injuries. Some estimates suggest that over 1 million people per year will suffer from a meniscus tear of some type. While meniscus tears are more common among athletes, anyone can develop a meniscus tear.
What should I do if I think I have a tear?
The best thing to do if you have a painful meniscus tear that does not seem to be getting better is to consult with an experienced orthopedic physician. Fortunately, our team at Total Spine specializes in treating all kinds of knee-related issues including meniscus tears. Take back your quality of life and give us a call today to get started on the road to recovery - (321) 499 4646