Meniscus Tear - Diagnosis & Treatment

How is a meniscus tear diagnosed?

Your doctor will need to ask about your injury and conduct a physical examination to check your knee’s range of movement.

They may conduct the following tests to determine if you have a meniscus tear:

  • Special tests that involve bending, straightening and rotating your knee
  • Imaging tests such as an MRI to evaluate the extent of injury
  • X-rays to eliminate other causes of knee pain

In the event the above tests are unable to determine the cause of your knee pain, an arthroscopy may be performed. This technique involves making small incisions that allow the doctor to insert a camera so that they are able to see the injury more clearly.

How is a meniscus tear treated?

Some meniscus tears may heal on their own, although meniscus tear surgery can help them repair more quickly.

Non-surgical options

For the non-surgical option, your doctor may advise you to follow the Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) protocol:

  • Rest – Take a break from the activity that caused the injury
  • Ice – Use cold packs on the injury for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day
  • Compression – Use an elastic compression bandage to prevent further swelling
  • Elevation – To reduce swelling, lean back or lay down during rest, and ensure that the leg is raised higher than the heart

Your doctor may also prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling.

Surgical option

If symptoms persist, your doctor may advise minor surgery such as knee arthroscopy to repair or remove the pieces of the torn meniscus.

In this minimally invasive procedure, an arthroscope, a long and flexible tube with a camera, together with small surgical instruments, are inserted into your knee area through a small cut to repair the tear.

Consult an orthopaedic surgeon to determine the treatment method most suitable for your condition.

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