Meniscus Injuries in Athletes

Dr. Aditya Sai kadavkolan, Consultant Arthroscopy, Sports Medicine & Shoulder Surgery, Dr. L. H. Hiranandani Hospital Headquartered in Mumbai, Dr.LH Hiranandani Hospital is a multi-specialty hospital specializing in orthopedics, cardiology, surgery, obstetrics, gynecology and several other specialties.

Meniscus tears are among the most common knee injuries in athletes. Athletes, particularly those who play sports like football, volleyball, and soccer. A meniscus injury is the injury where two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage act as 'shock absorbers' between your thigh bone and shin bone. The most common symptoms of meniscus tear can be pain and swelling in the knee or a popping sensation during the injury. In few cases, a piece of the shredded cartilage breaks loose and catches in the knee joint, causing it to lock-up. However, anyone at any age can tear a meniscus.

In young athletes, meniscus injuries results due to trivial twisting injuries. In these types of injuries there are compression and twisting applied across the knee or activities like squatting,or through repetitive activities like running and jumping which affects the knee joint. Meniscus tears happen above 50 years of age because the knee joint cartilage has a tendency to degenerate
as part of the aging process. Mostly 40 percent of these kinds of injuries happen in individuals over 50 years of age, as the cartilage weakens and wears. Aged, worn tissue is more prone to tears. It takes place in conjunction with early arthritic changes in the knee joint.

Recent studies have also shown that increasing correlation between ACL injury meniscus injuries. There is an increased chance of meniscus tears depending on how long after the ACL injury, surgery occurred; earl surgeries prevent meniscus tears. In such condition, individuals are not able to move their knee through its full range of motion. At first athletes does not feel the pain but they might play through the injury. Once the inflammation sets, knee will probably hurt more.

"Athletes should always consider an expert opinion on any of major/minor injuries"

To diagnose Meniscus tear, surgeon go through an MRI(Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan, which will more evaluate details of knee cartilage. If there is minor tears that can be healed on their own with a brace and relief. While in few cases, a surgeon may recommend arthroscopic inspection of the knee joint. In younger athletes the injuries may call for repairs of the meniscus.

Nonsurgical treatment of meniscus injuries in the young can lead to accelerated arthritis; conversely meniscus injuries in individuals above 50 years and are treated more with non-operative modalities due to underlying arthritis. In an actue injury RICE(Rest, ICE, Compression and Elevation), which is effective for most sports-related injuries. RICE stands for Rest, ICE, Compression, and elevation.

Details of RICE are as stated below:
• Rest: Patient needs to take rest during the jury, doctors recommend doing crutches to avoid putting weight on your leg.
• Ice: It is a common technique where you need to use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
• Compression: To prevent additional swelling and blood loss, wear an elastic compression bandage.
• Elevation: In elevation the patient needs to recline when you rest, and put your leg up higher than your heart.

Athletes should always consider an expert opinion on any of major/minor injuries.