The piece of cartilage that provides a cushion between your femur and tibia is what we know as meniscus, there are two of them in each knee joint. Unfortunately, meniscus can be damaged during different activities especially those that put pressure on or rotate the knee joint.
Meniscus tear can be treated on different ways varying from home remedies, therapies or surgery. But this injury can be prevented by performing exercises that will strengthen the leg muscles.
The meniscus can be damaged while doing activities that cause direct contact or pressure from a forced twist or rotation. Movements such as deep squatting, heavy lifting or a sudden pivot or turn can injure the meniscus. Athletes practicing sports that require sudden turns and stops, such as football, basketball, soccer, and tennis, are at high risk this kind of injury.
It is important to highlight that meniscus weakens with age, this is why is more common to find this problem in people with more than 30 years. People with osteoarthritis also are at higher risk of injuring the meniscus.
The common symptoms of meniscus is hearing a popping sound around the knee joint. When this happens there are other feelings such as pain, swelling, difficulty moving your knee, the feeling of your knee locking, or the feeling that your knee is unable to provide support. If you feel any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor.
To diagnose meniscal tear it will be needed to examine your knee and test your range of motion, which involves knee movements as bending, straightening and rotation. A slight pop sound during this test indicates a meniscal tear. Imaging tests may be ordered to confirm a meniscal tear. These include X-Ray, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound.
When it is not possible to determine the injury with this technique, an arthroscopy may be performed. Arthroscopy means that a small cut is made near the knee to analyse its condition.
It is recommended to treat the knee injury with home techniques at first, this includes resting your knee, avoiding activities that may worse your knee, ice your knee every three hours for thirty minutes, compress your knee in an elastic bandage to reduce inflammation, and elevate your knee to reduce swelling.
You may also take medication as ibuprofen, aspirin, or any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling. You should not put full weight on your injured knee if it is painful. It is important to have a physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, this can improve the condition of the knee.