Often times injuries occur to the knee that may either lead to great suffering and pain or total incapacitation. One of the most frequently occurring injuries in the knee region of humans is the medial meniscus tear. Several thousands of surgeries are carried out on people each year due to this type of injury. It is however surprising that this name appears strange in the list of injuries suffered by people. This is rather because there is another name for this injury with which it is known. To most people, the condition is known as “torn cartilage”. The most hit by this condition are athletes as they are known to place tremendous forces on their knees while they are training or in the field of play.
You would have a better understanding of how the medial meniscus tear occurs if you can learn the anatomy of the knee joint. The knee joint is the largest joint in the body and it is actually a complex joint that is made of three bones which are the patella i.e. the knee cap, the tibia which is the bone of the lower leg and the femur bone which is the thigh bone. Now all these bones are covered by only a thin layer of articular cartilage. This cartilage although hard yet smooth in nature provides a reduction in friction between these bones. There are also four ligaments that are present in the knee and these ones help to stabilize the knee and in essence provide strength to the knee joint.
There are some functions which the meniscus performs which become hampered when there happens to be medial meniscus tear. You would therefore have a better understanding or the full implication of this condition if you can know of the functions the meniscus performs. There is so much force that is directed either downward or upward through the knee when you make quick or rapid movements. The meniscus functions to absorb the impact of this force by transferring it from the thigh to the lower leg. This would help reduce the burden on the spine, hip, pelvis, foot joints and ankle. You would also expect that there would be wear and tear as result of the grinding force on the articular cartilage. The meniscus therefore functions to protect also the articular cartilage from damage. There are other functions that the meniscus is known for which include the nutrition of the knee joint, provision of knee stability, load bearing and the even distribution of body weight.
Medial meniscus tear would occur when there is an application of intense pressure or twisting on the medial meniscus. This would lead to the jamming of the meniscus between the bones and eventually the spitting or tearing known and observed in the condition. The medial meniscus tear gets more frequently injured than the lateral meniscus and the reason for this is that, there is a stronger attachment between the medial meniscus and the knee joint capsule and the tibial surface than the lateral meniscus. During active sporting events like football, a sharp twisting of the knee when the foot is still rooted on the ground could result into the condition of medial meniscus tear.
In most cases, the medial meniscus tear results from undue stress placed on the knee joint by bending the knee and allowing a twisting motion on the bent knee. There would be an experience of intense pain and swelling within a few hours after this happens. There could be loss or resilience of the meniscus due to some other factors and when this occurs, this painful condition can as well result from it because it is no longer possible for the articular cartilage to be protected. This condition appears to be common in older folks in who appears to be a degenerative wear on the menisci. The wear could be mild in this condition and it may pass without notice but when the case is not so, great excruciating pain would be experienced even in slight movements like walking. There is epiphyseal closure of the bones in older people and bones heal only slowly or not at all. Healing of the medial meniscus would therefore take a longer time in such people than it would in younger people.
Medial meniscus tear in people varies according to the size and the type that occurs. The severity of the condition would therefore be measured according to the extent of the tear and the type of tear that occurred. Where damage and tear is close to the peripheral region, healing can be expected to be faster because there is a good supply of blood to this region. Areas like the white zone where there is lack of blood supply of blood however would experience a slow healing process. Some of the symptoms that are generally seen when there is a medial meniscus tear include difficulty in walking, pain in the knee region, swelling in the knee region, inflammation and increased temperature of the knee among others.