Knee cartilage injuries are common sports injuries that occur due to damaging of cartilage in the knee that cushions and stabilizes the joint. The cartilage is known as meniscus and the injury is also known as a meniscus tear. Meniscus protects the bones from wear and tear. However, due to twisting or stress, the cartilage tears and exposes the bones to damage. Often the shredded cartilage breaks and blocks the knee joint, thus locking it up. Knee cartilage injuries are common in contact sports such as football and basketball.
- Contact and non contact sports
- Twisting of knee while running or sudden change in direction
- Weakening of cartilages and muscles with old age
- Falling on the knee
- Trauma or accident
- Pain in the knee
- Inability to put weight on the leg
- A popping sensation during the injury
- Difficulty in bending knee
- Problem in straightening the leg
- Locked up knee
To diagnose the problem, the doctor thoroughly examines the patient and inquires about their medical history. The physician also recommends x-rays and other imaging tests such as MRI tests, which helps in evaluating knee cartilage in detail and determine the extent of the injury.
Depending upon the size and location of the tear, the physician may offer different treatment for the knee injury. Many other factors such as age, activity level, extent of the injury and medical history also contribute in deciding the line of treatment. An injury to the outer side of meniscus usually heals on its own as it has a good supply of blood vessels. However the situation is not same when the injury is deep and affects the inner of the cartilage. Such injuries do not heal on own and require medical treatment.
The patient is often prescribed anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce swelling and inflammation. The patient can get relief by taking rest and discontinuing any activity that puts strain on the knee. If the injury does not heal with time, then surgery is the only solution. If unable to repair, the surgeons may replace the damaged portion of the knee with metal or plastic parts. In the most severe case, the patient has to undergo a total knee replacement, in which, the knee is replaced with an artificial joint.
To treat traumatic injuries, the patient may be recommended an Arthroscopic surgical treatment. It is a minimal invasive surgery, which is performed using an arthroscope. The surgeon removes or repairs the torn meniscus and the patient can recover in a few weeks to a month after the surgery. A physical therapist can help the patient regain the strength and flexibility of the muscles post surgery.
For more information, consult the knee doctors at OrthoTexas. To schedule an appointment, call at (972) 492-1334 or visit 4780 North Josey Lane, Carrollton, TX 75010.