A Meniscus is a crescent shaped rubbery cartilage that separates and cushions the shinbone from the thigh bone.There are two existing kinds: outer and inner. The outer meniscus is known as the Lateral meniscus. It is located on the outside of the knee. While the inner meniscus known as the medial meniscus is located on the inner side of the knee joint. Its main function consists in increasing the congruence of the joint.
Meniscal tears happen in such a way: when the joint moves, the meniscus resists this movement. It stands still, and the arthral part of the bone slides over it. The meniscus itself does not have nerve endings, but if the integrity of the meniscus is violated during movement, the torn off part is displaced, which leads to tension of the capsula articularis at the place of meniscus insertion. This calls for immediate repair.
Often, there is some kind of click heard during the onset of a meniscus tear. Subsequently, the leg swells and becomes less mobile. One may experience knee aches during regular daily movements. In addition, the person struggles to fully extend the lower limb. At the time of a meniscal tear, a crackling sound can be heard in the lower extremity. Moreover, the individual will not be able to move the knee in a certain way. Increasing pain and tingling sensations are warning signals of a meniscal tear. We have to say that although the meniscus does not have pain sensors, the capsula of the joint signals the body about the malfunction.
Diagnosis of Meniscal Tears
Treatment and diagnostics techniques of meniscal tears, beside anamnestic data, include X-ray, ultrasound and MRI.
An X-ray does not show cartilage tissue, evaluating only the bones, but our medical center “Touch of Health” conducts it in order to exclude any pathologies. MSCT is also used when in doubt, when there is suspicion of bone damage. Ultrasound diagnostics is used when more accurate methods of treatment are not available. It allows us to see the condition of meniscal tears from all the angles.
MRI makes it possible to have an image of the soft tissues in the smallest details. Our highly-qualified doctors can say that the condition they see during operational treatments on meniscal tears almost completely coincides with the data obtained using MRI. The perfect combination of the diagnostics is X-ray plus MRI.
Treatment is divided into two categories: traditional and operational. The answer to the question of which treatment can be provided without manual intervention depends on the stage of meniscal tears. If there is a restriction of movement in the joint due to a mechanical block, then using special repair methods, manual reduction takes place in order to repair the block. After that, the limb is immobilized in a straight position either with a plaster splint or with a rigid splint (orthosis) for four weeks. Such technique can be applied only with such kinds of meniscal tears, which can repair on its own.
Unfortunately, more often than not, the meniscus is not able to repair itself . Due to tis, operational intervention is necessary, aimed either at restoring the meniscus or removing the torn part (with non-removable meniscal tears). Nowadays, in this case, such a high-tech efficient treatment called arthroscopy is used for repair of the meniscal tears condition. A video camera is input through a microscopic cut approximately 5 mm, and the necessary tools are inserted through another port, and the repair intervention takes place. Such treatment significantly reduces the time of postoperative recovery.