The meniscus is a cartilage inside the knee joint. It has semilunar (sickle) shape and it’s main purpose is to deepen the relatively flat surface of the upper end of the shin bone. The meniscus distributes the force around the knee joint. Actually the meniscus bears about 40% of the load transmitted through the knee joint. Also meniscus adds some stability to the knee joint.
What is the meniscus and what does it do?
The meniscus acts like a gasket between the femur and the tibia to spread out the weight being forces transferred from the thigh above to the leg below. The ability of the meniscus to spread out the force on the joint surfaces as one walks is important because it protects the articular cartilage from excessive wearing. Without the meniscus, the concentration of force into a small area on the articular cartilage can damage the surface, leading to degeneration, called osteoarthritis. Also the meniscus helps with the stability of the knee joint. The meniscus converts the tibial surface into a shallow socket. A socket is more stable than a flat surface. Without the meniscus, the round femur would be able to slide on top of the flat tibial surface.
How the meniscus is torn
The meniscus can be torn in several ways. The entire inner rim of the medial (inner) meniscus can be torn in what is called a bucket handle tear. The meniscus can also have a flap torn from the inner rim, or the tear can be a degenerative tear where a portion of the meniscus is frayed and torn in multiple directions.
How does the meniscus cause problems in the knee?
Meniscus injuries can occur in any age group, but the causes are somewhat different for each age group. In younger people, the meniscus is a fairly tough and rubbery structure. Tears in the meniscus in patients under the age of thirty usually occur as a result of a fairly forceful twisting injury. In the younger age group, meniscal tears are more likely to be caused by a sport activity.
In older people, the meniscus grows weaker with age. The tissue that makes up the meniscus becomes degenerative and is much easier to tear. Meniscal tears in the older age group occur as a result of a fairly minor injury, even from the up and down motion of squatting. Degenerative tears of the meniscus are commonly seen as a part of the overall condition of osteoarthritis of the knee in the older population. In many cases, there is no one associated injury to the knee that leads to the meniscal tear.
What are the treatment options?
Surgery may be necessary for severe tears, however. It involves removing part of the meniscus and suturing or scaffolding a graft, possibly a collagen implant, in the knee to promote the growth of new tissue. This surgery is a last resort, and while it generally has good results, non-invasive chiropractic care should be your first choice as it involves a lesser risk of side effects. At worst, you’ll end up needing the surgery after all; and since your orthopedist isn’t going anywhere, she’ll be there when you need her. At best, you’ve saved time (the 6-8 weeks you’re down recovering), you’ve saved money (a few grand at least), and you’ve saved subjecting a joint to the risks of surgery (there are always risks).
Getting the Help
If you live in the Augusta GA, Martinez GA or Evans, GA area, you can either call us at (706) 814-5053 or schedule an appointment with an experienced chiropractor in Augusta GA on our Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic website. We will conduct a thorough examination for a proper diagnosis, and if your condition is treatable with chiropractic care, we will recommend the most appropriate course of treatment. Since meniscus tears only get worse over time, the sooner you seek help the better.
Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic successfully treats a wide range of conditions, from sports injuries such as a torn meniscus or tendonitis, to more chronic conditions such as TMJ and neck pain. Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic is one of the few clinics in the Augusta area certified to treat extremities, such as a knee, ankle, or wrist, using the Activator Protocol. Click here to watch the story of a local Augusta athlete and how they incorporated their chiropractic care into their training regimen.
Augusta GA Chiropractors Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic provides customized chiropractic treatments to the Augusta GA, Martinez GA, and Evans GA communities. Visit our main website at www.georgia-clinic.com for customized chiropractic in Augusta GA.
The Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic Blog is written by Dr. Mark Huntsman.