A meniscus tear is a type of knee injury wherein the fibrocartilage strips in the knee are torn or ruptured. This condition is caused by forceful stop or twisting of the knee. Because the fibrocartilage strips do not have the same amount of blood supply as nearby tissues or nerves, the pain is harder to pinpoint.
The most common signs and symptoms of meniscal tears are: pain while running or walking short distances, stiff knees or buckling knees. Limited range of motion of the knees and locking of the knees are also tell-tale signs of meniscal tears. If the knees keep popping when you run or walk, the fibrocartilage strips in the knee could be damaged.
Home Treatment for Meniscus Tear
The kind of treatment you go through will depend on the extent of the injury and the location of the tear. Usually, home remedies are meant to provide temporary relief from swelling and pain in the knee. These treatments include:
Rest is one of the best ways to alleviate pain in the knee. When the knee is at rest, the body has enough time to repair the damaged fibrocartilage strips. Also, reducing your activities minimizes pressure on the knee joints.
Some resting and sleeping positions could aggravate your condition. Putting pressure on the knee could worsen the pain and swelling from torn meniscus. However, it’s hard to position yourself properly when you’re making uncomfortable positions unconsciously. If that’s the case, your doctor could add a knee brace to help you achieve the right form to heal. But do note that a knee brace is only advisable if the condition is severe.
Applying an ice pack on the affected area soothes pain and bring down swelling temporarily. Apply a cold pack on the knee for at least 10 minutes. Do this every day for two to three hours. To prevent cold burns, make sure to place a thin piece of cloth in between the skin and the ice pack.
You don’t have to forgo exercising when you are suffering from a torn meniscus. But, you have to go for low-impact exercises that tone the hamstring and quadriceps muscles. Low-impact cardio workout helps increase the heart rate and boost circulation.
Generally, exercising improves mobility and flexibility of the joints – especially damaged knee joints. However, it should be done under your doctor’s orders. If say, the pain becomes intolerable after exercising – even after your doctor recommended working out – let your physician know about it. This way, your doctor can create a more suitable workout for you.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are the most common drugs for easing meniscus tear pains. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are some of the most common over-the-counter NSAIDs you can take to reduce pain and swelling.
But again, make sure to ask your doctor first what meds work for your specific case. Children and teens are not advised to take these meds because they increase the risk of Reye syndrome. This condition affects the central nervous system. It’s often caused by taking aspirin.