The frequent knee ailment known as a meniscal tear entails serious harm to the knee joint’s cushioning cartilage. Any movement (such as pivoting, squatting, etc.) that forces your knees to twist violently might cause it, as can an injury, resulting in crippling knee pain and immobility.
While a meniscal tear usually heals in six to eight weeks, it can occasionally take weeks to recover fully. Additionally, you risk getting osteoarthritis because of the inflammation that follows an injury.
In this blog, we will give alternative treatments for meniscus tears and some other information about meniscus tears.
What is a meniscus?
The meniscus, made of fibrocartilage, is above the lower leg bone or the tibia. The knee’s inside has a medial meniscus, while the outside has a lateral meniscus. Each is fashioned like a C, providing the knee with support and cushion as a shock absorber.
Types of Meniscus Tears
Meniscus tears come in six different general categories. Both the symptoms and available treatments for each can vary.
- Horizontal Tear (Longitudinal). This meniscus tear extends from left to right or up and down. The “red zone” of the meniscus, which has a healthy blood supply, is where these mainly occur. As a result, it may be able to mend on its own, but if this does not happen, surgical repair may be beneficial.
- Radial Tear (Transverse). The most typical meniscus tear travels from left to right on the meniscus. The “white zone” of the meniscus, which receives little blood supply, is where it frequently develops. It’s challenging to recover organically in this place. Physical therapy needs to be the initial treatment for these kinds of rips, but platelet-rich plasma injection or bone marrow concentrate can be more advantageous. It is advisable to avoid surgery for this type of tear at all costs, as it may worsen the knee.
- Intrasubstance Tear (Incomplete). This form of meniscus tear is degenerative and occurs in the middle of the meniscus. After reaching 30, these become very prevalent, and other knee problems like arthritis frequently bring on pain in the knee. Doctors use physical therapy as the primary line of treatment for mild to moderate arthritis before using PRP. Bone marrow concentrate can treat more severe forms of arthritis.
- Bucket-handle Tear. The meniscus is flipped and torn over like a bucket handle in this kind of tear. It is one of the uncommon varieties of rear that needs surgery and can lead to some catching or impaired knee mobility. In this case, the meniscus is removed via a meniscectomy because it might not be able to be repaired. Physical therapy could be beneficial if there is no sign of catching or changed motion in the knee.
- Flap Tear. If a specific type of tear occurs in which a small piece of the meniscus is ripped and turned over, and it causes knee-catching, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged portion. Physical treatment can be tried, with bone marrow concentrate and PRP as options, as long there isn’t any catching within the knee.
- Complex Tear. A complicated tear, or one that combines multiple types of tears, is the last type. Meniscectomy is frequently performed in this situation since the sort of tear is challenging to mend.
Causes of Meniscus Tear
A meniscus tear is a common knee injury that can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that cushions and stabilizes the knee joint. It can tear due to a sudden twist or awkward movement of the knee or due to wear and tear over time.
One of the leading causes of a meniscus tear is sports-related activities. Athletes who play sports that involve sudden stops, pivoting, or twisting are at a higher risk of developing a meniscus tear. That includes sports such as basketball, football, soccer, and tennis. Forceful knee twisting or directly impacting the knee joint can cause a tear.
Another common cause of a meniscus tear is degenerative changes due to aging. The meniscus can become brittle and less flexible as we age, making it more susceptible to tearing. Additionally, repeated stress to the knee joint over time can cause wear and tear on the meniscus, leading to a tear.
Obesity can also contribute to the development of a meniscus tear. Extra weight puts more stress on the knee joint, increasing the likelihood of a tear. Individuals who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing knee problems, including meniscus tears.
A traumatic injury, such as a car accident or a fall, can cause a meniscus tear. These types of injuries can cause sudden and forceful knee twisting, leading to a tear in the meniscus.
Factors such as sports-related activities, degenerative changes due to aging, obesity, and traumatic injuries can cause a meniscus tear. Suppose you experience symptoms of a meniscus tear, such as pain, swelling, or difficulty moving your knee. In that case, seeking medical attention to properly diagnose and treat the injury is essential.
Symptoms of Meniscus Tear
A meniscus tear is a common injury that affects the cartilage in your knee joint. It often occurs when you twist your knee suddenly while bearing weight on it, such as during a sports activity or even while doing a simple task like getting up from a chair. If you’ve injured your meniscus, you may experience a range of symptoms, including:
- Pain: Meniscus tears can cause pain that ranges from mild to severe. You may feel pain at the tear site or throughout the knee joint, which may worsen when you try to move your knee.
- Swelling: Meniscus tears commonly cause swelling, stiffness, and difficulty bending or straightening your knee.
- Clicking or popping: You may feel a clicking or popping sensation in your knee when you move it, caused by the torn meniscus shifting out of place.
- Locking: In some cases, a piece of the torn meniscus may get caught in the knee joint, causing it to lock up and prevent you from straightening your leg.
- Limited range of motion: Meniscus tears can make it difficult to move your knee through its full range of motion, making it hard to perform simple activities like walking or climbing stairs.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seeing a doctor as soon as possible is essential. Your doctor can diagnose the extent of your injury and recommend the appropriate treatment, which may include rest, physical therapy, or in some cases, surgery. Most people can recover from a meniscus tear with proper care and return to normal activities without any long-term problems.
How common are meniscus tears, and what do they feel like?
Meniscal tears are typical. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, most adults over 35 who had MRIs were likely to have a meniscus tear, many of whom had no symptoms. A specific injury from sports, twisting, deep knee bending, turning, or other high-intensity activities might cause your meniscus to rupture. Along with the normal wear and tear of aging, it may also degrade over time.
Meniscus rips feel as follows, according to Dynamic Stem Cell Therapy, a respected source on orthopedic surgery: A meniscus tear can cause swelling, locking or catching of the knee joint, discomfort in the knee joint (often on the outside, inside, or back), an inability to completely extend or bend your knee, and limping.
Should you get surgery?
Contrary to popular belief, surgery may not be the best course if an MRI shows a meniscus tear. Almost 96% of all meniscus procedures are meniscectomies, in which the torn portion is removed instead of repairing the meniscus. Even if most “meniscus repairs” only patch up the torn fibrocartilage on a very infrequent basis.
The preponderance of research suggests that the majority of these operations are unsuccessful. Surgery frequently fails and hastens the arthritic process, causing severe arthritis considerably sooner than would otherwise have happened. A 2013 study indicated that physical therapy produced the same results as surgery, and another study discovered that meniscus surgery patients experienced the same outcomes as those who received phony treatment. Additionally, surgery may endanger the knee in the long run. According to evidence, removing a portion of the meniscus causes increased stress and wear on the cartilage, accelerating the progression of arthritis. In addition, meniscal surgery patients were 2.5 times more likely than non-surgical patients to need a knee replacement. Surgery is a common treatment for meniscus tears; however, there are frequently more effective alternatives.
Alternative Treatments for Meniscus Tear
Here are seven alternate treatment options for treating a meniscus tear that provides symptomatic relief and speedy recovery, in addition to using over-the-counter painkillers.
Rest is the initial treatment for meniscus tears, but you should still exercise to keep your knees mobile. The most excellent exercises for meniscus injuries are listed below for your consideration:
To perform clams, you must lie on your injured side with your feet and hips stacked on top of one another and bend your knees at a 45-degree angle to activate the gluteus muscles.
While keeping your arms and feet still, slowly elevate your top knee. Ten times, slowly bring your knees back to their starting position. Perform three sets a day, minimum.
Exercises for meniscus tears primarily target your quadriceps, the muscles in the front of your legs. Mini-squats are an excellent exercise that works your quadriceps without placing too much stress on your knees.
Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart in a leveled position. Only slightly bending your knees, bring your buttocks toward your thighs. Hold the squat as long as you can; then slowly return to the starting position, then repeat.
As opposed to a standard squat, stop at a bend of roughly 15 degrees to protect your knees. You can lean on the wall for assistance to improve your positioning and stability.
Sit in a chair, having your feet straight on the floor to perform leg extensions. As soon as you can, raise your right leg off the ground while keeping it straight. Lower the foot gradually, then do the same with the other leg. Perform ten reps at least.
Standing Heel Raises
You can strengthen your calf muscles by performing standing heel lifts. Place your feet hip-width apart as you stand. Place your hands on a counter, slowly elevate your heels off the ground, and then extend your heels as far as you can. Then, gradually bring the heels back down. Perform three sets of at least ten reps each.
On the back of your thighs is a group of muscles known as the hamstrings. Lie down on your stomach on a flat surface. Your legs should be straight, and your forehead should be on your arms. It would be best to raise the foot of your injured knee and slowly bring it up towards your buttocks. Please bring it back to the floor after holding it for 30 to 60 seconds. At least ten times, repeat the same action.
Ice therapy is an effective alternative for a torn meniscus and other illnesses, including edema. Applying ice presses the veins against the soft tissue surrounding the bones. Due to decreased vein dilatation, the cold temperature decreases blood flow, reducing the amount of liquid leaking from the knees and lessening swelling.
Doctors generally advise placing an ice cube on the injured knee (either directly or covered in a small towel) for 15 minutes every four hours.
The hemp plant contains an active substance called cannabidiol, or CBD, and it is a cannabis extract frequently utilized in tablets and oils.
CBD has a wealth of medicinal compounds that contribute to its potent anti-inflammatory effects. CBD lessens edema, discomfort, stiffness, and overall joint strength as an alternate treatment for meniscus injuries.
Endogenous cannabinoids are a class of molecules that are activated to provide these effects. Our bodies naturally produce anandamide, whose breakdown is linked to the aggravation of inflammation and pain in meniscus tears, along with other bone disorders.
CBD preserves anandamide by slowing down its degradation. It also regulates and controls endorphins, the feel-good hormones that help to reduce pain. It aids the healing process and is crucial in avoiding issues resulting from a meniscus tear.
For both oral use and topical application, CBD is widely accessible across the nation. The blood-brain barrier, a part of the central nervous system, is not crossed by it. It suggests that, unlike opioid-containing pain medication that may result in drug abuse, it does not lead to addiction.
Furthermore, there haven’t yet been any notable side effects associated with CBD. Many people with persistent back pain from rheumatoid arthritis and other illnesses have said CBD has eliminated their symptoms.
It is crucial to note that the FDA still needs to approve CBD. There is a risk of ingesting impure or contaminated CBD products. As a result, it is best to conduct in-depth research and look up reviews of a seller and their goods.
Natural Herbs and Herbal Supplements
Herbs and natural nutrients form the basis of Ayurvedic medicine. The following can be beneficial as a meniscus tear alternative treatment:
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera contains anthraquinones, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Turmeric. Curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory medication, is found in turmeric. By inhibiting the inflammatory enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), it relieves arthritic pain and swelling.
- Fish oil. Fish oil is a high source of critical fatty acids, including Omega-3 and Omega-6, which control inflammation and stop the growth of white blood cells, reducing swelling.
- Chondroitin and Glucosamine. These two substances naturally occur in the body (at every joint level), and their absence is linked to pain, swelling, and bone thinning. These substances are taken from animals and sold as pills to treat conditions and injuries affecting the bones.
Cell-based therapy, also called stem cell therapy, was first developed in the 19th century but has only recently gained widespread acceptance. Stem cell therapy or stem cell injection, which has an 80% success rate, has helped treat various illnesses where the body’s damaged cells cannot regenerate.
Aggressive inflammation hinders the body’s capacity to produce new, healthy cells that can replace the damaged or dead ones in bone and cartilage problems. Regenerative medicine can help in this situation.
Below are the two primary methods for obtaining stem cells for transplant:
- MMAT. To repair the meniscus and healthy joints, a procedure known as MMAT, or minimally manipulated adipose tissue, involves harvesting healthy adipose tissue and transferring it to the sick region. It is referred to as “minimal” because a tiny amount of fatty tissue is removed, which has little impact on the body fat’s inherent ability to act as a cushion.
- BMAC. To treat musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis, doctors harvest healthy bone marrow (rich in stem cells) and use it to create BMAC or Bone Marrow Concentrate.
To lessen the possibility of graft against host disease, the transplant cells should ideally be taken from the patient’s body.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
Blood has platelets as one of its constituents, and they are crucial as the first defense against pathological processes and pathogens. Two mechanisms are used to do this:
- Platelets create fibrin clots (platelet plugs), which control how the body responds to inflammation. They minimize the intense inflammation that is a hallmark of a meniscal rupture by preventing the movement of cells like leukocytes.
- Platelets release ten growth factors used to heal damaged cells, characteristic of meniscal tears.
- Additionally, they draw healthy cells into the patient’s blood.
In platelet-rich plasma therapy, healthcare professionals draw a patient’s blood, separate its platelets, and then reinject those platelets into the damaged area. In addition to being an effective alternative treatment for meniscal tears, PRP encourages healing, lowering the risk of osteoarthritis and other related problems.
A famous clinic, Dynamic Stem Cell Therapy, takes pride in its group of knowledgeable doctors and cutting-edge tools. Our outpatient section offers platelet-rich plasma injections and cell-based therapy, which have helped many patients.
Doctors often recommend extended rest as a treatment for meniscus tears. Any activity that can strain your knees and cause damage to the already injured cartilage and ligaments should be avoided.
Following the injury, avoiding some exercises, such as pivoting and deep squatting, is necessary, which can worsen the pain for at least four weeks.
Using a cane on the injured leg’s side is crucial, even when walking, because it lessens the pressure on the knees.
Meniscus tears frequently cause knee pain. Surgery to fix this problem is frequently associated with several issues, including more significant stress and wear in the cartilage and accelerated arthritis progression. PRP and Stem Cell Treatment are two alternative Dynamic Stem Cell Therapy therapies that can help.
Meniscus Tear Treatment In Las Vegas
Visit our skilled medical staff at Dynamic Stem Cell Therapy if you have a knee injury or pain and seek effective alternative treatments like stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma. Contact our helpful team by calling us at (702) 547-6565 or using our online appointment request form to learn more or to set up a consultation. We are eager to assist you!