Meniscus Tear and Torn Knee Cartilage

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Meniscus Tear and Torn Knee Cartilage

Post  Admin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:02 pm

Posted by ItHurts.com

If it hurts we can help!

Prevention and Treatment for Knee Pain, Torn Knee Cartilage and Meniscus Tear.

Meniscus tear is another common injury that affects the knee joint. The meniscus are 'C' shaped discs, made of tough cartilage called fibrocartilage. They help to improve the fit between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone) and are important for distributing load and absorbing shock at the knee joint.

If you suffer from meniscus injury or are seeking to prevent its occurrence it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, making stretching a part of your fitness regime will have a significant impact. To get you started on a safe and effective stretching routine learn more about The Stretching Handbook and how it can improve your fitness.

Anatomy of the Knee
There are two meniscus located in the knee joint between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone).

The picture on the right is a front-on view of the bones, tendons and ligaments that make up the right knee. In the middle of the picture there are two round structures called the "Lateral Meniscus" and the "Medial Meniscus." It is this structure that is damaged in a meniscus injury.

How are the Meniscus Injured?
A meniscus tear is usually the result of either a traumatic incident or degeneration. Traumatic tears are most common in physically active people under the age of 45, while degenerative tears are more common in the over 40's age group.

The meniscus receive very little blood flow. In fact, most of the meniscus receive no blood flow at all, which makes recovery extremely difficult.

Most traumatic meniscus tears are the result of twisting the knee or a sudden impact to the knee. While degenerative tears are associated with the aging process and result from a breakdown in the collagen fibers that make up the meniscus.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear?
The most common symptoms associated with a meniscus tear are pain and swelling around the knee joint. Tenderness at the injury site is also common.

Another common problem associated with a meniscus tear is 'joint locking.' Joint locking prevents the knee joint from either fully straightening or fully bending and is the result of a piece of the torn cartilage being lodged within the knee joint.

Treatment for Meniscus Injury
A minor meniscus injury is just like any other soft tissue injury and should be treated accordingly. This involves the application of R.I.C.E.R. (R) rest, (I) ice, (C) compression, (E) elevation and obtaining a (R) referral for appropriate medical treatment. The following two points are of most importance.

Rest & Immobilization
Once a meniscus injury is diagnosed it is important that the affected area be rested immediately. Any further movement or stress will only aggravate the condition and prolong recovery. It is also important to keep the injured area as still as possible.

Ice
By far the most important part. The application of ice will have the greatest effect on reducing bleeding, swelling and pain. Apply ice as soon as possible after the injury has occurred or been diagnosed. How do you apply ice? Crushed ice in a plastic bag is usually best. However, blocks of ice, commercial cold packs and bags of frozen peas will all do fine. Even cold water from a tap is better than nothing at all. When using ice, be careful not to apply it directly to the skin. This can cause "ice burns" and further skin damage. Wrapping the ice in a damp towel generally provides the best protection for the skin.

How long, how often? This is the point where few people agree. Let me give you some figures to use, as a rough guide, and then I will give you some advice from personal experience. The most common recommendation is to apply ice for 20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48 to 72 hours.

These figures are a good starting point, but remember they are only a guide. You must take into account that some people are more sensitive to cold than others are. Also, be aware that children and elderly people have a lower tolerance to ice and cold. Finally, people with circulatory problems are also more sensitive to ice. Remember to keep these things in mind when treating yourself or someone else with ice.

Meniscus Surgery
Surgery isn't always necessary for a meniscus tear and in some cases the individual can lead a totally normal life without any surgery at all. Your doctor or physical therapist can perform a number of tests to help determine the extent of the damage of the torn meniscus. An x-ray and MRI are two common tests used.

If surgery is necessary there are two options: a meniscus repair; or a meniscectomy.

Meniscus Repair
In some cases the meniscus can be repaired with surgery. Surgical repairs are only successful when the tear occurs in the vascular region (where there is blood flow) of the meniscus.

Meniscectomy
If the tear is in a part of the meniscus with no blood supply, (remember that most of the meniscus has no blood supply at all) surgical repair won't be affective. In this case a meniscectomy is performed to remove the torn portion of the meniscus and reform the remaining portion.
After surgery, expect to be on crutches for at least three weeks. Full recovery, using a comprehensive rehabilitation program will generally take about three to four months and athletes involved in high demand sports can be back on the field in about six to eight months.

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Article by Brad Walker and The Stretching Institute™️
Copyright ©️ 2010. All rights reserved.
Brad is a leading stretching and sports injury consultant
with more than 20 years experience in the health and
fitness industry. For more articles on stretching, flexibility
and sports injury management, please visit:
The Stretching Institute
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