Meniscus Tear Treatment

Dr. James - Orthopaedic Surgeon in Singapore

Written by Dr James Tan

Contents

    What Is a Meniscus Tear?

    A meniscus tear is one of the most common types of knee injuries that can result in pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the knee. The meniscus is a cartilaginous tissue located in the knee, which can get partially or completely torn in case of an injury, trauma, or accident. This can result in knee pain and an inability to carry out your daily activities.

    Read along further to explore everything you need to know about a meniscus tear, the different types of meniscus injuries, and the various meniscus tear treatment options in Singapore.

    Suspect an injury elsewhere? Seek cartilage injury treatment and therapy here at Ray of Health.

    Meniscus Tear Symptoms

    A meniscus tear can manifest with the following symptoms:

    • Limited range of movement in the knee
    • Pain in the outside or inside part of the knee
    • Tenderness at the knee joint
    • Swelling at the knee joint.
    • A feeling of weakness in the knee as if it cannot support your weight
    • A Feeling of knee locking or a popping sensation from the knee.

    Causes of Meniscus Tear

    Meniscus tears are caused by trauma or degeneration because of old age. It typically occurs in athletes when they plant their feet on the ground and then twist their upper leg, causing the knee joint to bend in an unnatural position.

    To recommend a meniscus tear treatment, an orthopaedic doctor must first determine the cause and type of meniscus tears.

    Types of Meniscus Tears

    A meniscus tear can be classified into the following types, according to its location.

    • Medial meniscus tear: These tears are on the inner side of the meniscus and since there is no blood flow in this region, this medial meniscus tear cannot be repaired.
    • Lateral meniscus tear: A lateral meniscus tear or peripheral tear is on the outer side of the meniscus and can sometimes be repaired.
    • Posterior horn tears: These tears are on the back of the meniscus. These are the most common types of meniscus tears.
    • Anterior horn tears: These tears are on the front of the meniscus and are less common.

    torn meniscus diagram

    Meniscus Tear- Image Credit: Mayo Clinic

    Depending on the appearance, a meniscus tear can be classified as follows:

    • Radial tear: A radial tear of the meniscus occurs at the most central part of its C-shape and extends towards its peripheral edges. This part of the meniscus lies in that region of the knee that has no blood supply. Therefore, the chance of a radial tear healing on its own is almost negligible and meniscus tear surgery may be the only option.
    • Horizontal tear: A horizontal tear of the meniscus occurs in the central region, splitting the meniscus into upper and lower parts. This happens in the vascular region of the knee where there is some blood flow. Therefore, horizontal tears are often repaired during surgery by stitching the circumferential fibres together. The blood flow in the region ensures good healing.
    • Bucket handle tear: A bucket handle meniscus tear is a vertical, longitudinal tear in the central part of the meniscus. This tear restricts the movement of the knee and the patient feels as if the knee is stuck. Such a tear usually requires surgery to regain the normal bending motion of the knee.
    • Flap tear: A flap tear is the kind of tear in the meniscus that causes some part of the meniscus to be pushed into the joint space, causing pain and restriction of motion. Also called parrot beak tears, these tears can cause the meniscus to flap in and out of place. Depending on the severity of the tear, the surgeon may attempt to repair or reconstruct the meniscus.
    • Intrasubstance/ Incomplete tear: Intrasubstance tears of the meniscus happen because of early degenerative changes and wear and tear. This tear is often diagnosed in people in their 20s and 30s. These tears are also called stable tears as usually they do not require surgery; they are managed through conservative means.
    • Complex tear: A complex tear involves a combination of multiple tear patterns, for example, horizontal and radial tears together. Complex tears are not generally repaired during surgery because of their complexity. The surgeon may remove some parts of the torn meniscus and repair other parts during surgery.

    Diagnosis

    The doctor performs a thorough physical exam to determine if the knee pain and other symptoms may be caused by a meniscus tear. The doctor will take a detailed medical history of the patient and the circumstances that led to the injury. He may also perform physical tests, including the McMurray test, which can help identify pain and a clicking sound in the knee that may indicate a meniscal tear.

    Furthermore, the orthopaedic specialist may order imaging tests to confirm his diagnosis further. These tests include X-rays (to rule out any bone problems or fractures) and magnetic resonance imaging MRI (a meniscus tear MRI can visualise soft tissues in the knee region and can identify a tear).

     

    Related Articles

    meniscus tear surgery

    Meniscus Tear Surgery and Prevention

    The meniscus is a crucial piece of cartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber between your thigh…

    acl tear

    How To Know If You Have An ACL Tear

    If you play some sports like football, basketball, tennis, or volleyball, chances are that you or someone you know has…

    acl tear

    Will An ACL Tear Heal on Its Own?

    Full ACL tears are not self-healing. These tears almost always require surgical intervention, usually through the minimally invasive procedure called…

    knee health

    Maintaining Strong and Healthy Knees: All You Need to Know About Knee Health

    Knee health is fundamental to enjoying an active and healthy life. From athletes to office workers, everyone can benefit from…

    knee injury

    Common Knee Injuries (and What You Need To Know to Prevent Them)

    Knee injuries can result from various activities, including sports and exercise. Some common injuries that require sports injury treatment and knee pain treatment include…

    Find Meniscus Tear Treatment in Singapore

    Meniscus tears are a few of the most common knee injuries among young athletes and sportsmen. Older people are also more at risk of developing an injury because of their degenerating muscles, bones, and joints. While those are the most typical risk factors, they can happen to anyone at any time.

    If you experience knee pain and swelling, you may have a torn meniscus. It is advised that you visit Dr. James Tan and seek treatment so you can be on the road to recovery.

    Ready to find meniscus tear treatment in Singapore? Don’t delay another day! The orthopaedic knee specialists and doctors here at Ray of Health will create your customised treatment plan and have you on the way to effective pain relief and management. We also offer treatment for shoulder pain, heel pain treatment and tennis elbow treatment.

    Contact us online, call +65 6235 8781, or connect with us on WhatsApp at +65 8028 4572.

    Locations

    Camden Medical

    1 Orchard Boulevard, #09-06

    Singapore 248649

    Mount Alvernia Hospital

    820 Thomson Road

    Medical Centre D #05-60

    Singapore 574623

    Book an Appointment

    Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

    Treatment Process With Our Meniscus Tear Specialist

    Dr James Tan, our meniscus tear specialist at Ray of Health, deals with various orthopaedic conditions of the body. He advises his patients to consult him in case of any pain or injury at the earliest so that the condition can be assessed and diagnosed properly.

    1. Registration: First, register with Dr James' team and book an appointment here.
    2. First appointment: At the first appointment, Dr James Tan will carry out a thorough physical exam for your meniscus tear, and evaluate your medical history.
    3. Diagnosis: Typically, additional diagnostic tests are required to assess the causes of the problems accurately. This usually comes in the form of MRI or X-ray scans.
    4. Personalised Treatment Plan: Dr James will then create a personalised treatment plan based on your specific condition and needs, which could include undergoing surgery, and recommend the necessary treatment modalities to you.
    5. Follow-up sessions: Dr James will schedule additional follow-up sessions to monitor the recovery process until you fully recover.

    Disclaimer: Treatment plans may differ for different patients. Please contact Dr James for more information.

    dr james tan

    Accreditations

    1. Mount Elizabeth Orchard
    2. Mount Elizabeth Novena
    3. Farrer Park Hospital
    4. Mount Alvernia Hospital
    5. Aptus Surgery Centre
    6. Novaptus Surgery Centre

    Medisave & Insurance Shield Plan Approved

    If you are a Singaporean or a Permanent Resident of Singapore, some of our orthopaedic procedures can be claimed under Medisave. The claimable amount will vary based on the procedure's complexity.

    For other situations, please consult our friendly clinic staff regarding the use of your Integrated Shield Plan insurance.

    Personal Insurance

    1. Great Eastern
    2. Prudential
    3. HSBC Life

    Corporate Insurance

    1. MHC
    2. Fullerton
    3. Adept
    4. Alliance
    5. IHP
    6. iXchange
    7. Parkway Shenton
    8. Bupa
    9. Cigna

    How is a Meniscus Tear Treated?

    Depending on the diagnosis of a meniscus tear, the type and location of the tear, and other factors, the doctor will chalk out a treatment plan for the patient. Knee meniscus tear treatment in Singapore may comprise non-surgical conservative modalities or the doctor may recommend surgery as a viable option.

    Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Meniscus Tear

    In case of minor meniscus tears where the knee is stable, the orthopaedic specialist will usually take the conservative approach as the first line of treatment for meniscus tear after a physical examination. The patient may be advised according to the following non-surgical protocols.

    Rest and Activity Modification

    Probably the first advice that the knee specialist will give you is to give your injured knee rest. This means trying to keep your weight off the injured knee by using a cane or crutches. The doctor may also advise you to avoid activities that put any strain on the affected knee. Modifying your activities and lifestyle can help give the knee an adequate amount of rest, so it can start to heal.

    Moreover, as part of the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol, applying ice on the injured knee for a few minutes, several times a day can also help reduce the swelling. Wrapping the knee in a compression bandage and propping the knee up while you lie down has also been shown to reduce inflammation and pain.

    Medication

    Your doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen to reduce pain and swelling caused by a meniscus tear. In cases of severe pain, the doctor may prescribe stronger prescription painkillers to manage the pain. However, their intake should be regulated and only be taken according to the prescribed dosage.

    Corticosteroid Injections

    A corticosteroid injection is an effective way to help reduce pain and swelling in the knee; however, it will not do anything for the meniscus tear itself. Such an injection is administered directly into the knee by the knee surgeon. Patients start to experience pain relief within a couple of days of administering the injection. Sometimes, a corticosteroid injection may provide long-lasting pain relief for the patient, especially in case of a minor meniscus tear.

    Corticosteroid injections do have a few drawbacks. They should be given to people with diabetes and other metabolic conditions with caution as they tend to increase blood sugar levels. Moreover, giving too many of these injections in a short amount of time can weaken the soft tissues of the knee and lead to cartilage deterioration.

    Biologic Injections

    Biologic injections comprise injections obtained from biological sources such as blood, bone marrow, and fat cells. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are a type of biologics. This is a technique that may help reduce pain and inflammation in the injured tissues and help them heal. In case of a meniscus tear, biologic injections are injected directly into the knee. This can help promote healing of the tear as well as manage pain.

    Assistive Devices

    The doctor may suggest the use of assistive devices like a knee brace for meniscus tear and crutches to make sure that the weight on the knee is distributed and the affected knee is stabilised. This helps promote healing and reduces pain.

    Physical Therapy

    After the initial swelling and inflammation of the injury have subsided, your orthopaedic doctor may recommend physical therapy to strengthen the knee muscles and improve mobility and flexibility. The physical therapist devises a personalised plan according to each patient’s condition and symptoms. Meniscus tear exercises and stretches are added to the therapy regimen to strengthen the thigh and leg muscles. The knee joint is stretched to improve its flexibility and range of motion. As the muscles start to strengthen, the therapist will suggest how and when to return to your daily activities followed by more rigorous and high-impact activities.

    Surgical Treatment Options For Meniscus Tears

    If non-surgical treatment options do not yield any favourable results, your meniscus tear Singapore surgeon may advise partial meniscectomy. A knee arthroscopy may be carried out to find the cause of the injury and subsequently be treated through keyhole surgeries. The surgical treatment option may involve trimming or removing the torn pieces of the meniscus or attaching the meniscus pieces together depending on the individual injury. For more information on meniscus tear surgery, visit our blog here.

    What is the recovery time for meniscus tear treatment?

    Meniscus tear recovery time can depend on several factors including the extent of injury, the kind of non-surgical or surgical treatment offered, as well as other factors. A young person’s injury may heal much faster as compared to an older person’s. Healing can take anywhere from six to eight weeks for minor meniscus tears that involve non-surgical treatments; however, the recovery time after surgery for a meniscus tear can take months depending on the type of surgery. The doctor may also advise you on physiotherapy and strength training to promote recovery, strengthen your core, and improve balance for walking and running in the future.

    Frequently-Asked Questions About Meniscus Tear Treatment

    Athletes and sportsmen are more at risk of getting a meniscus tear than the normal population. People who play contact sports that require sudden stopping and pivoting movements, such as football, basketball, and volleyball, are more prone to injuries. Some people may get this tear while lifting heavy objects or squatting. Another group of individuals who are at risk are older people with a degenerative condition. In such individuals, injuries can occur even with everyday movements like standing up from a chair. Generally speaking, the risk of meniscus tear injuries increases as one gets older.

    Disclaimer

    The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always consult your healthcare provider or specialist doctor regarding any medical condition that you might be facing and act on the doctor’s recommendations.

    References:

    1. Simon C Mordecai, Nawfal Al-Hadithy, Howard E Ware, and Chinmay M Gupte, "Treatment of meniscal tears: An evidence based approach", National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4095015/
    2. Kavyansh Bhan, "Meniscal Tears: Current Understanding, Diagnosis, and Management", National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7359983/
    3. "Meniscus tears - aftercare", National Library of Medicine, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000684.htm

    About The Author

    dr james tan

    Dr James Tan Chung Hui

    Dr James Tan is a skilled orthopaedic surgeon at Quantum Orthopaedics located at Camden Medical and Mount Alvernia Hospital, known for providing specialised medical services. Dr Tan has more than 10 years of experience in sports surgery and exercise medicine in Singapore. Apart from partnering with the industry to introduce various treatment techniques, Dr Tan has treated athletes from the Singapore National Teams and professional footballers from the Singapore Premier League and the Young Lions.

    Dr Tan specialises in treating sports injuries of the knee, shoulder and elbow joints, as well as cartilage and meniscus surgery. He is a member of the elite Asian Shoulder and Elbow Group and a founding member of the Singapore Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Society.

    Medical Education and Affiliations
    MBBS - National University of Singapore (NUS), Faculty of Medicine
    Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCS)
    MMed - Master of Medicine in Orthopaedic Surgery (NUS)
    Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh)
    Adjunct Assistant Professor | NUS, LKC
    Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports and Exercise Medicine
    Head of Department | Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Centre
    Awards
    Principal Investigator of Tissue Engineering
    National Medical Research Council grants
    Collaboration with Scientists at NTU, TUM, A*Star, Osteopore & Trendlines Medical Singapore

    Follow us on social media!