The knee has 2 C-shaped pieces of cartilage that serve as buffers between the shinbone and thighbone. When the cartilage tears, it is known as a meniscus tear. A meniscus tear happens when you forcefully twist or rotate the knee. This is a very common knee injury that often develops when playing sports.
While a lot of people who get meniscus tears recover with rest and medication, some require surgery. Once you get the right treatment, you will begin recovery. Here are some important points about your recovery.
There are both nonsurgical and surgical ways to treat meniscus tears. The exact treatment you’ll need will depend on the extent of the damage to the cartilage. The most urgent need for your recovering knee is stabilization. While the meniscus cartilage heals, it is sensitive to any irregular forces. If the joint moves too roughly, the tears may reopen and worsen. Aside from causing the return of intense pain, this relapse may do additional damage to your knee.
Typically, you should limit knee movement as much as possible during the days following the meniscus tear. You may be given a cast or brace to immobilize your knee. You can also expect to use crutches for a few weeks, which will prevent your affected knee from having to bear too much weight.
Meniscal tears cause inflammation in the knee. It may also be accompanied by pain and swelling. Doctors may prescribe medications to help control inflammation and other symptoms. RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) can help control inflammation, pain, and swelling. You should expect much of the swelling to subside after a few days. However, you will likely experience discomfort until your knee fully heals.
Once the inflammation significantly subsides, a physical therapist will work with you to start rehabilitating your knee. The trauma of surgery often causes the muscles supporting your knee to weaken. Strengthening your knee muscles is essential to preventing future meniscal tears. Physical therapy also encourages blood flow, helping you recover faster.
Rehabilitation exercises may fall into three categories. First, you’ll perform range-of-motion activities that will stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your knee. These movements will gradually help you fully extend, bend, and twist your knee. You’ll also do exercises to strengthen the quadriceps and the thigh muscles that stabilize the knee. Finally, you’ll perform movements to strengthen the muscles in your hips, which play a role in securing your knees as they move during daily activities.
Finally, patients who reach full recovery are instructed to adopt or maintain good lifestyle habits. Patients who are overweight will benefit from weight loss, which reduces the load that the knees must support. Regular physical activity, while avoiding vigorous stress the knees, is also suitable for maintaining overall health. Patients should also adopt a healthy diet, so the body can keep better.
Meniscal Tear Treatment in San Antonio, Texas
Choosing a medical center that emphasizes recovery as much as treatment is essential for proper medical outcomes. The Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine guides its patients through every step of treatment, from the initial diagnosis to post-operative recovery.
For inquiries, call (210) 692-7400 or request an appointment using our online form.