Diagnosis

Your diagnosis is a tear of the medial meniscus.

Injury or Condition

This injury is a disruption of the fibrocartilage (meniscus) CONDITION: which absorbs shock and lubricates the inner weight bearing compartment of the knee.

Cause

The most common cause is excessive pressure and torsion applied to the fibrocartilage (meniscus) on the inner (medial) aspect of the knee. This occurs, often as an unrecognized event, during a twisting or hyperflexion (excessive bending) injury to the knee.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms are pain localized at the inner (medial) aspect the knee usually aggravated by vigorous activities and squatting. Mechanical symptoms of catching, popping or even locking may occur. Discomfort is often noted at night and descending stairs.

Treatment

Standard treatment includes:

  1. Observation of symptoms for at least 4-6 weeks. Spontaneous healing is uncommon in adults, but may occur in some cases.
  2. Safe strengthening activities, such as cycling, which avoid twisting and hyperflexion.
  3. Optional anti-inflammatory medication for 1-2 weeks.
  4. Arthroscopic surgery to trim the damaged meniscus. Partial regeneration is often stimulated at the same time. Meniscal tears that require trimming are those that don’t have a good blood supply.
  5. Arthroscopic surgery to repair a freshly damaged meniscus. Recovery takes longer but all tissue is restored. Meniscal tears that are repairable have good blood supply.

Precautions

Important precautions:

  1. For non-surgical treatment, you should avoid sports activities which lead to significant pain.
  2. Anti-inflammatory medications are used as a temporary measure, not for a prolonged period.
  3. Cortisone injections should generally be avoided because they may mask the condition and lead to more permanent damage.
  4. A tear of the medial meniscus is often associated with ligament damage especially an ACL injury.

Recovery

Expected recovery after arthroscopic trimming of the damaged meniscus (partial meniscectomy) takes 2-8 weeks depending on the severity of the tear.

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