Meniscus damage

There are two menisci in each knee – medial and lateral. These rather delicate crescent-shaped structures are located between the articular surfaces of the tibia and femur. They play very important roles in the knee, such as: carrying loads, absorbing vibrations and shocks, mechanical stabilization, distributing synovial fluid.

Vertical damage can be divided into longitudinal, radial and complex. In addition, we can distinguish degenerative changes that are more common in people with chronic ligament instability and in the elderly.

Meniscus damage – symptoms

Identifying meniscus damage is fairly easy. First of all, as a result of injury, pain occurs on the lateral or medial side of the knee at the height of the joint gap. It intensifies during or immediately after exercise. In addition, patients often notice a limitation in the range of mobility of the knee, it is difficult to bend or straighten it. In this case, there is talk of “locking” the knee. The knee may also swell because excessive fluid appears in the joint. Additional symptoms may include various clicking, jumping in the knee, and even a feeling of instability.

A thorough medical examination is crucial in diagnosing pathology. In case of doubt, the doctor may of course recommend additional tests, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging. These tests are also able to specify the diagnosis because they can determine the type of meniscus damage. This is important because depending on the nature of the change, different types of treatment is offered.

Symptoms of meniscus damage:

  • knee pain,
  • blockage of the knee,
  • crackling and jumping,
  • edema,
  • instable knee.

Causes of the meniscus damage

Damage to the meniscus can happen while doing almost any sport. It usually occurs as a result of sudden straightening of flexed or rotated knee joint. Damage occurs when the physiological limits of the menisci resistance to acting forces, physiological ranges of motion are exceeded, or when structures that are in direct contact with the meniscus are damaged. In the elderly, whose menisci have a weakened structure, damage can occur even during normal activity, e.g. during squats. Medial meniscus is damaged five times more often than the lateral meniscus.

Meniscus damage – damage

Meniscus due to limited blood supply have very poor healing potential. Only small changes can be treated conservatively. In most cases, arthroscopic surgery and surgical treatment of the damage are required.

The times when the meniscus was removed completely even with the slightest damage, are gone forever. It is now known that after total meniscectomy, patients are seven times more likely to develop degenerative changes, 90% of athletes have radiological changes, about 65% feel pain, and 48% of people are forced to reduce sports activity.

Therefore, the priority is to keep up a large part of the meniscus in place. Whenever possible, it should be sutured, and if a partial resection of the meniscus is necessary, it is limited to the damaged part only.

The function of menisci in the knee is so important that after complete removal of the meniscus, a meniscus transplant is performed from the donor. Of course, after surgery, appropriate rehabilitation is needed to regain optimal fitness. Of course, after surgery, appropriate rehabilitation is needed to regain optimal fitness. A sports athlete after surgery should not return to normal training until he regains full range of motion in the knee joint and full muscular strength. After partial resection of the meniscus, return to sport is possible after about 2-4 weeks. However, if the meniscus was stitched, this time is extended by another 4 weeks. After starting regular exercises, a patient still needs to continue strengthening thigh muscles.