Treating A Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage inside the knee designed to absorb shock between the shin and thigh bones. When the cartilage becomes thin and fragile, the meniscus can tear, causing pain. Tearing of the meniscus is commonly seen in athletes, older people, and patients with arthritis. Non-surgical approaches are commonly used to treat the injury.

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Symptoms of a tear

Many people describe the moment a meniscus tear happens as a popping sensation. Other symptoms associated with meniscus tears include knee pain, swelling, stiffness, and locking of the knee. Difficulty bending or straightening the leg is common.

Assessing the damage

Proper treatment of the meniscus tear depends on factors such as age, symptoms, and the degree of the tear. Other factors include the patient’s activity level and the type and location of the tear. The doctor will usually recommend non-surgical options for mild symptoms and when there is an absence of locking of the knee. The majority of patients do not need surgery for meniscus tears.

Treating with conservative options

The go-to method for treating a meniscus tear is applying the RICE protocol, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Applying a compression bandage and keeping the leg elevated will lessen swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications can help decrease knee pain and swelling. In some cases, the healthcare provider may recommend steroid injections to ease the symptoms. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is being studied and shows good outcomes in alleviating symptoms of a tear.

What about hyaluronic acid?

Researchers always find new ways to treat and manage painful symptoms effectively. Hyaluronic acid is found throughout our bodies and helps keep joints lubricated. One study concluded that hyaluronic acid (HA) could help alleviate pain associated with meniscus tears and potentially help with healing. The use of injected hyaluronic acid can improve the symptoms of meniscus tears but may not be available at every doctor’s office.

Surgery on the table

Many people can treat tears with conservative treatments, including hyaluronic acid. However, severe meniscus tears that do not heal with non-surgical approaches may require surgery.

Preventing the pop

There are possible ways to reduce the risk of a meniscus tear. Exercise to strengthen the muscles of the lower limbs is one approach. Wearing appropriate shoes when doing any sports activity can also lower injury risk. A knee brace can help people with unstable knees or previous tears.

Getting back to normal

The outlook for meniscus tears is usually good, and patients can resume regular activity after getting the right course of treatment. If the meniscus does not recover properly, this can increase the risk of other knee injuries. Hyaluronic acid can help improve the joint’s lubrication and may be the exact ingredient needed to recover from this injury.

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