The meniscus is one of the most common joint injuries. Meniscus lacerations in young people often occur in sports accidents. These untreated lacerations can negatively affect the careers of athletes, especially. In the elderly, the meniscus, which occurs due to bodywear, can be treated with various methods. Examination, MRI or diagnostic arthroscopy are used to diagnose meniscus.
What Is A Meniscus?
Although the meniscus is popularly known as a disease, it actually refers to an important structure that protects the cartilage in the knee region. This structure provides ease of movement in the knees, one of the busiest joints in the body. The meniscus, which serves as a rough hinge between the tibia and thigh bones, consists of two O and C shaped parts. Each knee is in a set of these pieces. The O-shaped structure is called the outer, while the C-shaped structure is called the inner meniscus… The meniscus, which increases the contact surface of the tibia and thigh bones, allows a balanced distribution of body weight on the bones.
In addition, a sudden impact on the knee region as a result of the shock to absorb force and the spread of intra-knee fluid to the articular cartilage caused by the meniscus is also among the ailments.
How Does Meniscus Injury Occur?
One of the problems that athletes often face, meniscus tear, can happen to many people in daily life. Those who carry heavy loads, those who are constantly standing, housewives who are busy doing household chores and the elderly can face meniscus tearing. This type of injury, which usually occurs when body weight is given to one side, can sometimes occur even in simple movements such as kneeling, squatting and lifting heavy loads. When lacerations and injuries to the meniscus are addressed in several main titles, these titles are listed as follows:
Direct injuries: includes injuries caused by direct string strokes. Falls on the knee, traffic accidents, kicks from the knee cause this type of injury.
Indirect injuries: injuries that occur as a result of the rotation of the torso over the knee. In this type of situation, the body usually performs a rotational motion on the knee while the foot is fixed on the ground. While the lacerations experienced during football matches and skiing are dealt with in indirect injuries class, loss of balance and foot fitting and uncontrolled rotation of the body on the knee can also cause indirect injuries.
Degenerative injuries: injuries caused by deformations in the body due to old age are treated as. In such cases, especially in the elderly, even the slightest blow from the string prepares the environment for the rupture of the robust meniscus.
What Are The Symptoms Of Meniscus?
- Pain in the knees
- Swelling and stiffness in the knees
- Locking on the knees
The first complaints of meniscus tearing are usually pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knees. The pain in the knees when going up and downstairs, sitting up or downhill starts to give the first signals of damage to the meniscus. This type of pain and swelling that is not important in daily life can lead to more serious problems in the future. In the next stage, patients face a problem of locking in addition to pain in the knees. When you sit and get up, your knees get stuck, and then your knees lock in a certain position, and then the feeling of emptying causes the knees. Meniscus treatment, which is noticed in the first stages, can be performed without the need for surgery. However, in later stages, it may become necessary for patients to have meniscus surgery.
How Is Meniscus Treated?
The treatment method applied to patients varies according to the size of the injuries and lacerations in question. In acute cases, ice compresses on the floor of the meniscus, keeping the knee in a higher position than the body and resting, plays an important role in treatment. The pain in the knees and the hangings make the daily life of the patients quite difficult. Therefore, when complaints occur, the patient should be diagnosed and appropriate treatment should be started immediately. Otherwise, along with daily activities, the patients ‘ sports activities are also interrupted. In addition, untreated lacerations cause wear on joints and bones, causing knee calcification called “gonarthrosis” at an early age. The treatment of these problems is used to prevent exercise and drug treatment and surgical treatment are discussed in two main topics.
Exercise and Drug Therapy
In low-grade lacerations, after examination and diagnosis procedures, the damage to the meniscus can be corrected with the medication and exercises recommended by the doctor. In addition to this exercise and medications, patients need to rest for a certain period of time. When the meniscus is curable with physical therapy, it is important to stick to the exercise program provided by the doctor during the healing process. Otherwise, low-grade lacerations can progress and require surgical treatment. For physical therapy to be effective, an exercise plan of at least 1.5 months may be needed.
Open Surgeries Were Replaced By Arthroscopy
A new era is beginning in meniscus surgeries with the technology that has developed. With a special technique called arthroscopy, very small holes are drilled into the patients ‘ knees and an optical device with a camera is inserted through these holes. The area is displayed on the screen and the damaged area is clearly visible. The removal of the torn part of the meniscus is sufficient for treatment. Arthroscopy, which replaces the open surgeries that used to be performed, does not produce scars or spots. In addition, this technological method allows the patient to get up in a short period of time and return to daily activities without wasting time. After the incision is made, the patients do not have to worry about dressing. The majority of patients recover after surgery without the need for physical therapy.