Meniscus Tears Symptoms and Treatments (Non-Surgical)
A meniscus tear is one of the most common types of knee injuries that people complain about. The meniscus is a C-shaped disc of soft cartilage in the knee joint. This tissue is what will provide cushion to your knee joint and keeps it fluid and easy to move. Each knee has two of these pads- one on the outer edge and one on the inner edge of the knee joint. It helps the knee joint stay stable and aids with balancing the weight of the body across the knee so it is not focused on one point of the knee. When the meniscus gets damaged or torn it can prevent your knee from moving smoothly and often results in loss of mobility and pain at the knee.
A meniscus tear usually occurs as a result of twisting or turning too quickly at the knees, most often when the foot is firmly grounded and the knee is slightly bent. Meniscus tears are common with people who lift and carry heavy things a lot and those who play high impact sports. All through life the meniscus pad protects your knees but as you get older, your meniscus gets worn and more prone to injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, healing can take time, but there is a lot that can be done before surgery needs to be considered as an option.
With a small tear, there can be slight numbness or pain and some mild swelling. This usually clears up on its own with some rest and ice in a few weeks. A moderate meniscus tear can cause pain that radiates from the center of the knee and radiate through the entire joint. Swelling will worsen over a few days and it will get harder to walk and your knee may get stiff or even lock up due to the swelling. Pain can also get pretty bad when you try to move. These symptoms generally take a few weeks to clear up but can come back easily of the knee is tweaked or overused. If there is a severe tear, pieces of the tissue from the meniscus can become lodged in the joint itself. This can make the knee pop, crack, grind, or lock. Your knee may lock or even buckle without warning as you try to walk. It may swell and become stiff and immobile. In most cases, injuries this severe can heal on their own but there is a 50/50 chance of the injury reoccurring at any time, given how much wear and tear the knees take.
In older individuals that have a meniscus that is worn, there may be no identifiable cause for the injury that caused the tear. Sometimes simply walking, stepping, bending, squatting, and moving can tear worn out meniscus tissue. Pain and slight swelling are often the only symptoms of injury that signify you need to see your chiropractor.