More than 500,000 people in the United States develop a meniscus tear every year. Unlike other knee injuries, you may not realize you’ve injured your meniscus until several days after the injury.
Like any injury, early diagnosis and treatment increase your chances of a faster recovery. At Ani Medical Group in Hazlet and Old Bridge, New Jersey, our orthopaedic experts want you to know the top signs your meniscus may be in trouble so you can get the treatment you need without delay.
About your meniscus
Your meniscus is a rubbery disc that cushions the three bones that make up your knee, including the thigh bone, kneecap, and shinbone. In addition to preventing the bones from rubbing against each other, your meniscus also helps distribute body weight and stress on your knee.
What causes a meniscus injury
In many cases, injuries to the meniscus occur when you suddenly twist or turn your knee while keeping your foot planted in one position.
Athletes are especially prone to meniscus injuries. However, you may also accidentally injure the rubbery tissue from an unexpected slip and fall.
Aging also increases your risk of a meniscus injury. Like other parts of your body, your meniscus degenerates over time, making it more susceptible to tears.
The severity of your meniscus injury
Our orthopaedic experts classify your meniscus injury based on the severity of the damage. The classification may play a role in the types of symptoms you experience and the treatment.
A mild meniscus injury causes minor discomfort and heals within 2-3 weeks with rest.
Moderate meniscus tears are more painful and may cause discomfort throughout your knee.
With a moderate meniscus tear, you may notice swelling and discomfort within the first few days. These types of tears heal on their own but require activity modification.
If your meniscus has a large tear, then your injury is considered severe. With a severe meniscus tear, you may struggle to bend or straighten your knee or walk.
Your tear may also lead to loose bodies that cause your knee to lock or catch.
If you have a severe meniscus tear, surgery is usually needed to repair the injury.
Top signs your meniscus is in trouble
Like other soft tissue injuries, your meniscus injury may be categorized as an acute or overuse injury.
Acute injuries are sudden, hard to prevent, and can happen to even the fittest of people.
It’s not uncommon for an acute knee injury to affect more than one part of your knee, making it hard to ignore. Any acute knee injury benefits from an evaluation, especially if you lead an active lifestyle.
Overuse injuries develop over time from repetitive use. An overuse meniscus injury may start as a small tear and grow larger when left untreated.
You may have a more difficult time recognizing an overuse meniscus injury before things get worse. Common signs that your meniscus may be in trouble include:
- Knee pain
- Knee locking or catching
- Decrease in knee’s range of motion
- Difficulty walking
If you feel any of these symptoms, you should rest your knee for a few days. However, if your symptoms persist, you should come in for an evaluation.
Don’t let your knee pain keep you from living your life. Let us help you get back to it. If you suspect your meniscus is in trouble, contact the office by phone or request an appointment online today.