When can a patient detect that he/she has an injured meniscus? What symptoms are characteristic?
The patient may detect that t
Increased pain may be noted with knee flexion or knee twisting movements.
The characteristic symptoms are:
- Pain (may feel like a twinge on the side of the knee).
- Intra-articular effusion
- Hearing a popping sound when the injury occurs
Severe injuries can cause the joint to lock, making it difficult to fully extend or flex the knee.
What types of actions or sports can lead to a meniscus injury?
Those activities or sports that involve repeated loading or jumping, activities that involve twisting, changes of direction or shearing can lead to meniscus injury.
Although in sedentary people and with little muscular mass it can be injured after a bad gesture or before an accident of low energy.
How to distinguish a meniscus pathology from a knee pathology?
To distinguish a meniscus injury from a knee injury, a correct anamnesis and physical examination by a specialist in traumatology is essential. If we have a pain in one side of the knee and the tests to compress the meniscus are painful we will be in front of a possible meniscus injury. If we have a pain when descending stairs and the examination hurts the kneecap, probably we will have a wear of the cartilage. If the patient complains of knee failure and on examination the knee is unstable, we may have a ligament injury.
How should meniscal injuries be treated and when should surgery be performed?
Treatment of meniscal injury should be individualized, depending on the type of meniscal tear and the patient (age, cartilage condition, physical activity, weight, expectations).
Some small injuries can be treated conservatively following a good rehabilitation program.
On the other hand, patients with unstable or bucket-handle tears that cause severe pain, disability and/or joint locking should have surgery.
How will the results be and when will the patient be able to start walking and return to sports?
Depending on the type of meniscal tear there are two treatments that can be performed during surgery:
- meniscectomy, in which we eliminate the broken part of the meniscus and the rest of the meniscus is regularized trying to leave the largest remaining stable meniscus.
- meniscal suture, where the injured parts of the meniscus are joined together by means of special sutures.
When we perform a meniscal suture the patient must walk with two crutches without resting the foot on the ground for the first 3 weeks and the movement is limited to flexion up to 90º these first 3 weeks to protect the meniscus suture and that it heals.
In many occasions we recommend a postoperative rehabilitation to recover the mobility and musculature of the joint as soon as possible.
Regarding sporting activity, the patient will be able to return to his sporting activity progressively and according to tolerance, first to physical activities that do not involve impact such as swimming, the heliptic or cycling. If the physical activity is very demanding and involves jumps, turns, impact, changes of direction, we recommend a good specific training beforehand.