The meniscus is a c-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as the shock absorber between the thighbone and shinbone in the knee. It helps in distributing the weight efficiently across the joint surface, thereby minimizing friction during movement. Unfortunately, the meniscus is prone to tears, which can lead to debilitating knee pain and affect your daily activities. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of meniscus tears and their treatment options.
Radial tears are caused by a forceful twisting or rotating of the knee, usually in a bending position, resulting in the meniscus tissue to tear from the inner rim towards the outer edge. These types of tears can be very painful and restrictive, making it difficult to perform daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs.
Treatment: If you have undergone a radial tear, surgery is usually the recommended option to repair or remove the damaged meniscus tissue. After the surgery, your doctor may suggest physical therapy to help you regain your knee's strength and flexibility.
Horizontal tears are not very common and usually occur in older adults as a result of weakened meniscus tissue. Aging decreases the blood flow to the meniscus, leading to a weak and brittle tissue that may tear easily.
Treatment: Depending on the location and extent of the tear, you may require either a partial meniscectomy, where the damaged portion of the meniscus is removed, or a meniscus repair, where the torn meniscus tissue is stitched back together. Your doctor may also advise you to undergo rehabilitation to get you back to your normal activities.
Flap tears are common in contact sports such as football and soccer. This type of tear occurs when a part of the meniscus tissue folds over, obstructing the joint's free movement. The flap can also irritate and cause inflammation to the joint.
Treatment: Depending on the severity, a physical therapy program may be recommended if the tear is small enough to be stable and has no significant irritation. Otherwise, your doctor may suggest a meniscus repair or a partial meniscectomy.
Degenerative tears are caused by aging or wearing out of the meniscus, making it susceptible to tearing even with common knee movements. These tears are common in older adults who have an active lifestyle or have generalized arthritis.
Treatment: The treatment of degenerative tears depends on the severity of pain and activity limitation. Conservative treatments such as rest, activity modification, or physical therapy may be enough. If conservative treatments prove inadequate or their symptoms worsen, meniscectomy or meniscus repair is typically performed.
From the above discussion, it is evident that the type of meniscus tear and its extent dictate the best treatment option. Depending on the severity of the tear, sports medicine therapies, such as activity modification, rest, and physical therapy, are usually recommended before surgery is considered. If you are experiencing knee pain, swelling, or any other discomforts, it is essential to visit our Central Florida Bone and Joint Institute in Deland. Our orthopedic surgeon will conduct a thorough physical examination and recommend the best treatment options for you.