Understanding Meniscus Injuries, Tears and Surgery

Our knee has its own shock absorbers and stabilisers. It is a pair of cartilage called meniscus, or in plural, menisci. The weight of our body is dispersed through this cartilage and it also prevents friction during our bodily movement.

If you ask where it is in our body, it is not obvious like our ankle. This C-shaped soft tissue connects our thigh bone to our shin bone and its location is considerably hidden, surrounding the kneecap bone, immediately below it. Due to its location, usually serious injuries or tears to menisci will lead to a knee surgery.

How Can Someone Get a Meniscus Injury or Tear?

When we get older it is common that the tissues and bones all over our body wear down, including at the area of our knee. Even ordinary movement and body position such as kneeling, heavy-lifting and squatting can pose certain risk of injury to the elderly.

In cases of younger people, usually athletes who undergo rigorous training, participate in sports that require much contacts between players like hockey, football or rugby, and those who take part in vigorous recreational activities like hiking or climbing, are in serious risks of meniscus tear or injury. When the knee must bear burden more than it can take, meniscus tears and injuries may occur.

What Happens When Our Meniscus Gets Injured?

There are signs and symptoms that we should be aware of when we suspect our meniscus is injured. We may feel a popping sensation in our knee. We may also feel that our knee is locked when we try to move it. This is because the soft tissue is no longer elastic and able to reduce friction like it was in its healthy condition and can no longer accommodate smooth movements.

Once the knee becomes locked, we will not be able to twist or rotate our knees due the pain and stiffness. The area will get swollen and the swell might spread to our whole leg. If we try to straighten our leg, it is will be very difficult and painful due to the swelling.

Are There Any First Aid Treatments for Knee Injuries?

If we find ourselves, our loved ones or anyone at all having to face this situation, the first thing that we can do to help is to provide them some ways to cool the joints and then support the knee with bandages to reduce pressure on the injured area. The next best course of action is to find a general practitioner to check the seriousness of the injury. If it is proved to be serious, then some immediate measures will be suggested by the doctors to repair or treat the injury.

Can a Meniscus Injury Heal by Itself?

Some of us probably afraid about the prospect of going to see a doctor, especially if it involves surgery. But is it necessary for a torn or injured meniscus to be treated with surgery? In fact, it is not. While the best time for injured or torn meniscus to be operated on is as soon as it was found to be in the condition, the meniscus can heal itself if the injury affects only one-third of the outermost layer of the meniscus.

However, only a doctor can determine how bad is an injury. Hence, always visit the doctor and seek advice from experts before it becomes worse, even if you think the injury is too minor to worry about.