Torn Meniscus Treatment in Singapore
Meniscus tears are one of the most common knee injuries. They are typical issues for athletes and as you get older you have an increased chance of having a torn meniscus. While those are the most typical risk factors, a torn meniscus can happen to anyone at any time.
If you are dealing with knee pain and think that you have a torn meniscus, it is crucial to have it treated. Fortunately, treatment and recovery are relatively simple and you can be on the path to recovery in no time.
Ready to get back to living a pain-free life? Here is everything that you need to know about the diagnosis of a torn meniscus and the treatment options.
What Is a Meniscus?
Your meniscus is probably one of those body parts that you are completely unaware of until there is a problem. While it is definitely not a part of the body we discuss very often, it plays a critical role in the structure of your knee and ultimately your ability to get around.
Your femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) are kept apart from each other by a part of your knee joint called the meniscus. This spans the area and cushions the gap between your bones. Each one of your knees has two menisci. There is the medial meniscus on the inside and the lateral meniscus on the outside.
Each meniscus in your knee is constructed of sturdy fibrocartilage. This fibrocartilage looks a bit like a crescent with its C-like shape. Your meniscus works like a suction cup bringing together your femur and tibia's joint surfaces.
Types of Meniscus
The most common type of knee injuries affecting your meniscus include traumatic meniscus tears, degenerative meniscus tears, and a strained meniscus. Keep on reading to learn about each one.
Traumatic meniscus tears are common amongst athletes, particularly those who play sports like basketball and football, but they are not exclusive to athletes. They can happen absolutely anytime that you are making a movement that involves knee twisting.
While people find themselves with traumatic meniscus tears after a variety of situations, in most cases they all involve strong knee twisting. Occasionally, kneeling or squatting can also cause a meniscus tear but it’s less common.
Degenerative meniscus tears, also known as atraumatic meniscus tears are more common in older people. Over time, your meniscus will break down and degenerate, which makes you more prone to tears.
This degeneration can put you at an increased risk for meniscus tears that result from twisting, kneeling, and squatting. It’s worth noting, however, that these tears will be notably different from a traumatic meniscus tear and require a different type of treatment.
A meniscus strain is also caused by a sudden twist of your knee while your foot is planted on the ground. This can be from a quick pivot or hard hit during sports or, less commonly, during an accident.
Frequently-Asked Questions About Torn Meniscus in Singapore
You will have similar symptoms with both a meniscus sprain and a meniscus tear. In either of those cases, you will experience knee pain, stiffness, and swelling. If you hear a popping noise at the point of injury and you can’t move your knee, it is more likely that you have a more serious injury. When it comes to a meniscus sprain vs a meniscus tear, the tear is the more severe knee injury.
The only way to know for sure if you have a meniscus sprain or a meniscus tear is to see a healthcare professional. Your doctor will be able to do a physical examination as well as an X-ray or an MRI, if needed, depending on your unique case.
Knee pain is the key symptom of a meniscus tear along with swelling. You might find that your knee feels caught or locked in a way and your entire leg may feel weak. People with a torn meniscus often describe a feeling like their knee is buckling or "giving way."
When you have to put weight on your injured knee as well as any time you need to twist, turn, or pivot on your knee, it will likely be painful. Similarly, it may hurt to walk up or down stairs and you might notice swelling afterwards.
Due to its limited blood supply, your meniscus doesn’t really have the ability to heal itself very well. Blood vessels are crucial for healing and your meniscus only has blood vessels in the outer third of it. This part of your meniscus is what we call the "red zone." The inner two-thirds of your meniscus, on the other hand, is what we call the “white zone” as this area lacks blood supply.
If you hurt your meniscus within the white zone, your knee injury isn’t going to heal on its own. Unfortunately, the majority of meniscus tears happen within that white zone rather than the red zone. This means that most meniscus injuries won’t heal on their own.
Not only do meniscus tears not heal themselves in most cases but tears that are left untreated will worsen over time. Degenerative knee arthritis is more likely to develop in people who have untreated injuries and progressive meniscus loss. That is why it is crucial to get a diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible.
While looking up information online is a great way to find information and narrow down which specialist to see, you will do more harm than good trying to solve the problem with meniscus at-home treatments and diagnosis.
Some people with a torn meniscus may be able to heal with nonsurgical treatments like anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. More severe cases, however, will require surgery. Since your meniscus can’t heal itself in most areas, it is essential to surgically repair your knee.
Your healthcare professional will also note the kind of meniscus tear because traumatic and degenerative tears sometimes require different plans for treatment. Your specific plan will also be dependent on your unique knee injury and medical history.
Alternatives to Surgery for a Torn Meniscus
The first objectives of a non-surgical physical therapy treatment plan are usually to deal with pain management and improve your knee’s range of motion. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen are often part of the initial treatment along with other therapeutic treatments. The RICE routine of rest, ice, compression, and elevation is the gold standard for less severe knee injuries and goes a long way in reducing pain.
As the pain and swelling decrease, the next goal is to strengthen the muscles as you regain movement in your knee. Depending on your specific knee injury, your doctor may also recommend steroid injections, hyaluronic acid injections, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections, or injections of bone marrow concentrate.
It is important to keep in mind that the use of non-surgical treatment for a torn meniscus depends on the severity of your injury rather than your preference, so you will need to take your doctor’s advice on the right treatment. Surgery is required for the majority of acute, traumatic tears and fragmented degenerative tears, and it is crucial to getting rid of knee pain.
When surgery is compulsory, your doctor will usually perform a knee arthroscopy. This kind of surgery uses an arthroscope. Also called a scope, an arthroscope is a fibre optic camera that has a specialised surgical tool on it. The purpose of using this kind of tool is to create a minimally invasive incision in your knee. These ultra-small tools are able to do the job of delicately trimming the torn meniscal fragments or stitching together the area to create a meniscal tear repair.
During the procedure, your surgeon will make every effort to repair any part of the meniscus that has a blood supply (and therefore the potential to heal). While sometimes torn parts of your meniscus can’t be saved, the goal of surgery is to retain as much as possible since it is crucial to the overall function of your knee.
In the case of degenerative meniscus tears, you may have been dealing with your knees locking and surgery can sometimes fix this by removing the loose fragment. It is usually not possible to repair degenerative meniscus tears though as the meniscus fragment normally has a poor supply of blood flow. That is why your doctor may recommend the torn portion be removed during surgery and nothing more.
Your knee surgery recovery time depends on the severity of the meniscal surgery and the extent of the injury. If the torn portion of your meniscus is simply removed, you will probably only need crutches or another type of support for a few days. If your meniscus tear is being repaired during the surgery, you will probably need to have crutches for one month to six weeks.
Of course, these are just general meniscus tear recovery timelines. The only truly accurate guideline is the one that your doctor provides you will after assessing your case.
It is essential to get a physical examination by a doctor, primary care sports medicine physician, or orthopaedic doctor if you suspect a meniscus tear.
If your torn meniscus has locked your knee, you will be unable to walk. This is painful and, while a torn meniscus would not typically be an emergency, it is important to have your knee examined as soon as possible.
Knowing if you have a torn meniscus isn’t always obvious, and that is particularly true when you are in pain and can’t walk. Generally speaking, if you can’t move and the pain is overwhelming, it is an emergency.
If your knee hurts but the pain lessens when you sit still, call us at +65 6235 8781 to make an appointment. To stay comfortable while you are preparing for your appointment, the best at-home torn meniscus treatment is RICE. Here is what to do:
- Rest: Stay seated or lie down as much as possible
- Ice: Put an ice pack on your knee for 20 minutes every three to four hours
- Compression: Use a compression bandage to wrap your knee and reduce swelling
- Elevation: Put your feet up and place your knee higher than your heart to cut down on swelling
Receive Meniscus Tear Treatment in Singapore
Ready to find the best meniscus tear treatment in Singapore? Don’t delay another day! The specialists here at Ray of Health will create your perfect treatment plan and have you on the way to a pain-free life.
Contact us online, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call +65 6235 8781, or connect with us on WhatsApp at +65 8028 4572.
About the Author
Dr James Tan C H
Dr James Tan is a highly skilled surgeon who has more than 10 years of experience in sports surgery and exercise medicine. Apart from partnering the industry to pioneer advanced and proven treatment techniques, Dr Tan has treated athletes from the Singapore National Teams and professional footballers from the Singapore Premier League and the Young Lions. He is a member of the elite Asian Shoulder and Elbow Group and a founding member of the Singapore Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Society.