Do you have symptoms of a possible meniscus tear of the knee? Here at NY Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, we take your symptoms very seriously. As a team, we have 15 years of experience, successfully treating meniscus injuries. The operative word here is “successfully.”
Located in New York NY, we are a state-of-the-art facility, with a highly skilled, compassionate staff. Our expertise is in treating meniscus tears of the knee. We have honed a protocol involving the use of ultrasound, electrical stimulation, range-of-motion, cold modalities, and strengthening exercises. We provide specific neuromuscular rehabilitation to improve your overall mobility, range-of-motion, balance, walking, and endurance. Our particular approach to neuromuscular rehabilitation is one of the criteria that makes us unique and successful.
Also, ours is not an “assembly line” facility, where patients are rushed through their sessions, to treat the most people in the least amount of time. Treatment plans are carefully customized and carried out. They are not “one type fits all.” This is one reason why the word “dynamic” is included in the name of our practice. We are always forward-moving in staying up-to-date on the most effective treatments. This dynamic approach translates into physical therapy sessions that are ever-evolving, exciting, and fruitful.
Meniscus tears are among the most common knee injuries. Athletic activities are a primary source of meniscal tears, particularly those involving contact sports. However, anyone at any age can tear a meniscus. The phrase “torn cartilage” refers to a torn meniscus.
The meniscus is a rubbery, crescent-shaped band of thick cartilage that cushions the knee. Each knee contains a meniscus at its outer edge (the lateral meniscus) and another at its inner edge (the medial meniscus).These menisci(plural for meniscus) work as shock absorbers and help to balance the body’s weight across the knee, keeping them steady. The knees are protected from the stresses of walking, running, bending, and climbing thanks to these menisci. The knee is the largest joint in the body and if there is an injury to a meniscus, the structure will be unable to function properly. Meniscus tear treatment is imperative if such damage develops.
The manner in which a meniscus tear arises generally includes a quick twisting or turning action while the foot is firmly planted and the knee is bent. This can sometimes occur while engaging in sports or during heavy lifting. The menisci can become damaged due to one single event or they may instead gradually worsen over time due to their vulnerability to the effects of age.
Your menisci are vulnerable to three types of tears, which can be classified as minor, moderate, or severe. The severity of the tear may be diagnosed by your health care provider based on the symptoms that are being shown. A minor tear may cause slight pain and swelling that can last for 2-3 weeks. A moderate tear may cause swelling that worsens over the first few days along with pain at the side or in the center of the knee. The knee can feel stiff and some difficulty bending may be experienced, but walking remains possible. A severe tear of the meniscus may present with a knee that is swollen and that stiffens either immediately after the injury or within 2 or 3 days. The latter, more severe, injury is typically due to pieces of torn meniscus migrating and becoming stuck in the joint space, which can cause the knee to pop or lock with difficulty or inability to straighten it. The symptoms of a severe tear can make it difficult to walk, as the knee may feel wobbly or may give way during ambulation.
In general, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a torn meniscus:
• Pain while walking long distances or while running
• Popping of the knee, particularly during activities like climbing stairs
• Swelling or a feeling of tightness of the knee
• Buckling of the knee or falls resulting from the knee giving way
• Locking of the knee, where the knee gets stuck and cannot be fully straightened
If you suspect a torn meniscus or any problem with either of your knees, the opinion of your healthcare provider should be sought in order to establish early treatment of meniscus tear damage. Your healthcare provider will ask you about any previous injuries and about the events that led up to the pain in your knee. An assessment will be performed, during which a physical exam focusing on the knees will be carried out. An X-ray or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) may also be utilized to provide a better picture of the tear and to determine its severity. An MRI is a non-invasive test that can be used to visualize the structures inside the knee, which includes bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage around the joint. Whether you require medial meniscus tear treatment orlateral meniscus tear treatment, these steps taken by the healthcare professional will help to determine whichmeniscus tear treatment options are best for your individual case.
Treatment for meniscus tear injuries can include non-surgical options like the RICE method:
R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compression
E – Elevation
More specifically, you should rest the affected knee as much as possible, ice it with an ice pack wrapped in a towel to help decrease inflammation, wrap it snugly with an elastic bandage (compression), and prop the limb on a chair or on pillows to aid in circulation. Keep in mind that ice application should be done with precaution. The application of ice will first cause a cold sensation, which turns into a burning sensation, fades to an ache, and is followed by numbing. At the point of numbing, the ice should be removed, so not to cause tissue damage. The knee should be iced for approximately 15 minute intervals, allowing an hour break in between applications. Upon beginning your meniscus tear treatment, you can ice your knee for the first three days following the injury.
Additionally, treatment for meniscus tear injuries may include the use of a temporary knee brace, crutches, physical therapy, muscle strengthening exercises, and in extreme cases, surgical repair. Often, for the treatment of meniscus tear damage, rehabilitation with the use of physical therapy and other conservative methods will be sufficient. Over the counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers can be taken for relief of discomfort during the rehabilitative period.
For either medial meniscus tear treatment or lateral meniscus tear treatment, a rehabilitative program will likely include physical therapy sessions as well as a regimen of home exercises. These planned activities will help promote the healing in your affected knee and get you back to your normal activities. The strength and flexibility that you build through your exercise regimen will also help you to prevent future degeneration and injury to your knee. Your physical therapist will work with you towards the goals of returning range of motion to the knee and the re-establishment of full functionality. This can sometimes be expected to happen within a two to three month timeframe, depending on the injury and the patient’s response to treatment.