To determine if the meniscus tears, the doctor asks how the injury came about and what symptoms are there. During the subsequent examination, the knee is palpated to check where it is tender or where parts of the meniscus are bulging.During further examinations at the orthopaedic centre, the knee is then bent and rotated. Pressure is applied to the different areas of the menisci, which can cause pain if injured. When straightening the bent leg, a snap can sometimes be felt, which can indicate loosened parts of the meniscus.One Ultrasound examinationcan only represent the outer parts of the meniscus. X-ray examinations are not meaningful in the case of meniscus damage. However, they can be useful if there is also a suspicion of a bone injury.
If the meniscus tears, the knee is first immobilized until the acute pain and swelling subside. Raising your leg and cooling your knee for the first few days after the injury will help reduce the swelling. Knee-stressing postures such as squatting, kneeling, twisting and larger bending movements are best avoided until the symptoms subside.
Meniscus tears that do not lead to entrapment or blockages in the knee can sometimes be successfully treated conservatively – that is, without surgery. This also applies to some fresh meniscus injuries that are painful but only temporary inflammationtrigger. Conservative treatment options include:
- anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as diclofenac orIbuprofen
- Knee Bandages
- Weight loss if you are very overweight
- Exercises to strengthen muscles and improve stability, flexibility and coordination
Meniscal tears are usually operated upon, though
- the knee can no longer be fully extended (for example, if the basket handle is torn),
- the symptoms are severe and frequent,
- it is to be feared that the meniscus damage could have consequences such as knee osteoarthritis,
- other parts of the knee, such as the cruciate ligaments , were also injured.
During the operation the damaged parts of the meniscus by an arthroscopy removed (arthroscopy). Frayed parts of the meniscus are cut away to smooth the surface of the meniscus. The attempt is made to preserve as much of the meniscus as possible. The removal of the damaged parts of the meniscus is called partial resection or meniscus smoothing.
Some tears in the meniscus can also be sutured. Then one speaks of a meniscus suture or refixation. This method is intended to reduce the risk of knee and osteoarthritis problems later on . Meniscal sutures, however, have to be re-operated more frequently because the seamdoesn’t always hold up. Rehabilitation also takes significantly longer. Since there are so far only a few meaningful studies on the advantages and disadvantages of meniscal sutures, they are controversial.