Many athletes, especially those who play contact sports often suffer from torn meniscus. Individuals in a wide range of age groups from the young to the old can suffer from a meniscus tear. A torn meniscus is incapable of self-healing because it lacks access to blood supply. In many cases, the only treatment option for torn meniscus is surgery. The knee is the largest and most active joint in the body. Therefore, it is quite vulnerable to injuries. A meniscus injuryin older adults is often caused by knee joint degeneration.
Signs of a Torn Meniscus
The meniscus is a rough, rubbery cartilage in the knee that helps to protect the knee joint. The knee joint has two types of meniscus: medial and lateral meniscus on the inside and outside of the knee respectively. Each meniscus is attached to the shin and thigh bones. The main role of the meniscus is to absorb shock from the upper body and the lower leg. A torn meniscus restricts movement and is quite painful.
The first sign of a torn meniscus is noticeable pain around the knees. You may also experience swelling, stiffness and locking of the knee joint. The swelling may occur on one or both sides of the knees. The swollen area usually feels spongy, but extreme swelling may cause the area to become harder. You may also find it difficult and painful to completely straighten the leg or bend it. A reliable sign of torn meniscus is a popping sound at the time of the injury or after the injury when you move. However, the popping sound may not occur if severely injured.
How to Wrap a Meniscus Injury
Knowledge of basic first aid can be extremely helpful in initial treatment of a meniscus injury. Wrap the knee immediately after the injury occurs to avoid excessive inflammation. Rest the knee on a slightly raised surface to take pressure off the knee. Avoid holding the leg in the air because that will further strain the soft tissue in the knee joint. Wrap the knee snugly with an elastic compression bandage. The bandage should be snug but tight enough to allow a maximum of two fingers placed flatly between the thigh and the bandage. Unwrap the bandage and wrap it all over again if it causes discomfort or inhibits circulation. The bandage should support the knee and allow for mobility.
Allow yourself adequate time to recover, which may take between six to eight weeks. Place ice on the knee on a regular basis to help reduce swelling and pain. Consider seeing your physiotherapist to help you do exercises such as aerobics and swimming to help improve knee strength and mobility. Continue walking with the aid of a brace, walking cane, or crutches until the knee heals completely.