As one of the most common knee injuries, a torn meniscus can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. You might also feel a block to knee motion and have trouble extending your knee fully.
When this happens, you might feel like you need meniscus tear surgery in Singapore to relieve knee pain and regain motion. However, not all cases of meniscus tears require surgery. Sometimes, conservative techniques such as the RICE method and medication are enough to relieve your symptoms while allowing the meniscus to heal on its own.
In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of meniscus tears, non-surgical treatments for meniscus tears, and post-surgical treatment of torn meniscus.
Before we dive into the symptoms, you need to know that the meniscus can be torn during activities that cause direct contact or pressure from a forced twist or rotation. For instance, sporting activities that involve sudden pivoting, squatting, or heavy lifting like football, basketball, and tennis can put these athletes at higher risk for meniscus tears.
Meniscus tears can also occur with age, especially among older people and people with weak menisci. If you have osteoarthritis, you’re at higher risk of tearing your meniscus caused by ageing and wear and tear. As a result, it is more prone to tears.
When a meniscus tear occurs, you may hear a popping sound around your knee joint. Afterwards, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
– Pain when you touch the injured location
– Difficulty moving your knee or inability to move it in a full range of motion
– The feeling of your knee locking
You might also experience a slipping sensation, which usually indicates that a piece of cartilage has become loose or is blocking the knee joint.
Initially, your doctor will recommend conservative treatment methods, depending on the type, size, and location of your meniscus tear. For degenerative tears (due to age), the symptoms will generally improve over time.
The conservative treatment includes the RICE method, medication, and physiotherapy. Here’s a brief explanation about the non-surgical treatments of meniscus tears:
Rest – Avoid activities that aggravate your knee pain, especially activities that require you to twist, rotate, or pivot your knee. If you experience severe pain, relying on crutches will help take the pressure off your knee and promote progressive healing.
Ice – Icing your knee can reduce swelling and knee pain. You can use a cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables, or a towel filled with ice cubes for about 15 minutes at a time while keeping your knee elevated. Do this every 4 to 6 hours for the first few days and then as often as needed.
Compression – Compressing an injured or painful knee will help to reduce the swelling. You should consult your doctor on the type of elastic bandages to use. Make sure to not apply excessive compression that would interfere with your blood circulation.
Elevation – Elevating your painful or injured knee will provide a downward path for draining the fluid back towards your heart, which may reduce swelling and pain. Try to elevate your leg 6 to 10 inches above your heart or put a pillow underneath your feet so that there is a complete downhill path.
Medications like Ibuprofen, aspirin, or any other Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and swelling around your knee.
Physiotherapy helps strengthen the muscles around your knee as well as reduce pain and increase your knee mobility and stability. Your physical therapist may also use massage techniques to reduce swelling and stiffness.
If these conservative treatment methods fail to relieve your meniscal tear symptoms, your doctor might recommend artificial joint fluid viscosupplementation. The procedure is a simple one and can be done on an outpatient basis.
The prognosis for minor degenerative tears and the ability for you to return to your routine activities very much depends on your motivation to work hard with your physiotherapist and to continue them at home after your therapy has been completed.
At Spire Orthopaedic Centre, everyone should be cared for and healed holistically in comfort without having to travel to different locations to seek medical and surgical help and rehabilitation support.
With a combined facility for collaboration between physicians, physiotherapists, and surgeons, you will experience a seamless service from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation, that’s tailored just for you at our clinic.