Many of us have never heard the term meniscus until we, or someone we know, has torn it. However, a meniscus tear is a very common knee injury. The meniscus is a C-shaped disc, which cushions your knee on both the inner and outer sides. Its rubbery texture allows you to balance by keeping your weight distributed across the entire knee. A torn meniscus can interfere with your ability to balance and in some cases even support your weight.
A meniscus tear easily occurs because it is usually caused by a quick twist or turn of your knee while your foot is planted firmly to the ground. Basketball players are notorious for this type of injury; however, another common cause is a workplace injury where there is frequent, repeated, or heavy lifting. Additionally, with practicing personal injury law for the last 20 years, I have seen this as a result of auto accidents, especially when a driver is rear-ended while they are stopped at a light with their foot firmly on the brake.
If it is a minor injury, you will have mild pain and swelling, while a moderate tear can cause pain on the side or center of the knee, with gradual swelling that worsens in the subsequent 2 or 3 days following the injury. Your knee may feel stiff and painful to bend but walking is still possible. Sharp pain when squatting or twisting is also possible. If untreated pain from a moderate tear may subside after several weeks but can easily come back when you twist or overuse your knee. The pain can come and go for years and over time the injury can worsen and cause water on the knee.
A severe meniscus tear can work its way into the joint area causing popping, catching, or locking of the joint. You may be unstable or your knee may give out entirely.
An experienced orthopedic surgeon can usually feel the meniscus tear with an examination of the injured area; however, the tear is usually confirmed through an MRI of the knee area.
Once a diagnosis is made, treatment will depend on where the tear is and how severe it is. Additionally, it will depend on your age and level of activity. Rest, support bandages, and propping the leg up on pillows are the very minimum. Physical therapy and ultimately surgery to repair or remove part of the meniscus for more severe tears is likely. However, surgery may not work as well in older people due to the body’s inability to repair muscle and tissue as it once did.
Recovery will depend on the type of surgery you have. Your recovery plan is likely to include rest, walking, and special exercises
If you have a torn meniscus as a result of an auto, motorcycle, truck accident, or workplace injury that took place in Lake County, IL you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering as well as other damages. Don’t let the statute of limitations run out – act now to preserve your right to collect.