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How does Function of the Meniscus Affect Knee Health?

How does Function of the Meniscus Affect Knee Health?

Meniscus is the cartilaginous tissue that improves the stability of our knees and its movements. The meniscus covers the surface of the bones in the knee joints. This cartilage allows the surface of bones to slide smoothly without damaging each other.

This cartilage, which distributes our body weight throughout the knee joint, is C-shaped and its function is vital for knee health. There are two meniscus in our knee. One is the Medial meniscus on the inner side of your knee and the other is the Lateral meniscus on the outer side of your knee

Each of our knees has two meniscus arranged side by side. The females (thigh bone) and Tibia (shin bone) provide the harmony with meniscus. Femur (thigh bone) and Tibia (shin bone) harmony is provided by the meniscus. The proper movement of the knee joints also depends on this cartilaginous tissue. With its connective and protective functions, this tissue allows our knees to function properly.

What is Meniscal Tear?

Cartilage, which acts as a tampon in the knee, may be torn by a sudden pressure. Meniscal tear can occur due to instable knee movement and sudden knee rotation. Overloading the knee can also cause a tear.

A torn piece of cartilage may be stuck in the joint and temporarily lock the knee. Meniscal tear is the injury of one of the rubber cartilage bands that acts as a shock absorber for the knee.

Since this tissue loses its elasticity in time, a tear can also occur slowly. During activities that put pressure on the knee joint or rotate it, the knee may be damaged or the tissue may be torn. Aggressive moves on the football field or a sudden move on the basketball court can cause meniscal tears. Needless to say, the meniscal tear doesn't only occur while doing physical exercise. Even if you are not a athlete, you may experience meniscal tear.

What are the Symptoms of Meniscal Tear?

It may be possible to easily find out the meniscal tear problem by means of some symptoms. Abnormally tension and pain felt in the knees are the most common symptoms. The unveiling symptoms of the meniscal tear problem are as follows;

  • Severe pain in your knee. This pain may not always be felt when the meniscus is torn. It may be felt after a while.

  • Swelling or stiffness in your knee,

  • A tendency for your knee to lock up or get "stuck",

  • Crepitus coming from your knee,

  • Difficulty bending your knee fully,

  • Difficulty straightening your leg,

  • Increased pain when stressing your knee,

  • Feeling of tightness in your knee.

What are the Types of Meniscal Tear?

The tears of this tissue are divided into different classes according to their physical properties. Depending on the location of the tear or injury and the characteristics of the tears, meniscal tears are as follows;

  • Vertical tears (perpendicular the articular surface),

  • Longitudinal tears (lengthwise),

  • Radial-transverse (lateral),

  • Horizontal tears (parallel to the articular surface),

  • Oblique tears (oblique meniscal tear),

  • Flap tears.

Meniscal tears cause pain and discomfort in the knees. Likewise, flat feet condition can also cause pain and discomfort in the knees. However, if the meniscal tear is the cause of knee pain, the pain becomes more sudden and severe. In the process of meniscus tears, knee locking up and pain are more prominent. Knee pain may stem from various causes. However, when the meniscus tears, moving your leg also becomes more difficult.

How is Meniscal Tear Treated?

The type and degree of the meniscal tears and status of the patient direct the treatment. Factors having influence in the treatment of meniscal tears are as follows;

  • Age of the patient,

  • Performance of the patient in occupational and social life,

  • Activity history of the patient,

  • Structure of meniscal tear

  • Location of the tear,

  • Whether there are any injuries apart from meniscal tear.

Meniscus tears may spontaneously. If the tear is in the red-red or red-white zone, it may heal spontaneously. Treatment is administered according to the degree of damage, as is the case with cervical disk herniation. However, surgical treatment can be performed for tears that do not heal in this way. Surgical treatment options are as follows;

  • Total meniscectomy (removal of whole meniscus),

  • Partial meniscectomy (removal of a piece of torn meniscus),

  • Meniscus repair (stitching up the torn parts),

  • Meniscus transplantation.