Degenerative Meniscal Tears
Knee pain that arises with minimal or no trauma (for example – rising from a chair or getting out of a car). The most common age range for this to occur is between 40 and 60 years.
The most common problem caused by a torn meniscus is pain. This can be very severe with a combination of an ache and also sharper pains. The pain can be very bad at night. In the majority of cases it improves over six weeks and is much better at three months, although may last longer.
Other signs and symptoms might be painful clicking, locking, swelling and buckling or giving way, particularly on loading the knee (e.g. going down stairs).
The pain may be felt along the line of the joint where the meniscus lies or be more vague and felt all over the knee. It is often made worse with twisting, squatting or impact activities when the meniscus can be pinched.
Is it harmful?
The tears in the cartilage can be very small and, although very uncomfortable, does not mean that the joint is destined to deteriorate.
Do I need surgery?
The latest evidence shows us that for the majority of people with a degenerative tear of their cartilage that time is the biggest factor in their recovery and an Arthroscopy (camera in the knee performed under general anaesthetic), does not provide any long-term benefit. This is particularly the case where there is more extensive wear and tear in the knee joint. This is something that is usually seen on a weight-bearing x-ray.
What can I do to help?
Take adequate pain relief, consult with your GP or Pharmacist if you are not sure what to take. Keep active and exercise as the knee pain allows. Remember – despite the discomfort, you are not harming the knee.
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