Meniscus Tear Treatment London


If you have a painful, swollen or stiff knee that is stopping your normal activity or making it difficult, you may have a meniscus tear. A meniscus tear is a common injury that can occur at any age, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee. In patients under 35, this could be a result of a twisting injury or fall, and associated with ligament injuries. In over 35s this tear may simply occur from everyday life — eg squatting or from training — with no definite injury.

How can a meniscus tear stop you doing what you want?

A meniscus tear can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in the knee. The symptoms tend to be worse with activity, especially running and anything that causes the knee to twist. This can limit your ability to participate in activities you enjoy, such as sports, exercise or even daily tasks like running, walking or climbing stairs.

What is a meniscus tear?

The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that cushions and stabilises the knee joint. A meniscus tear occurs when this cartilage is damaged or torn, typically due to twisting or other sudden movements of the knee. Meniscus tears are a common knee injury, particularly among athletes and those who are active in sports, and they can occur with or without an injury.

What can you do to help yourself ?

If you suspect you have a meniscus tear, first give the knee a chance to settle by reducing sports and activities. If the knee is swollen apply ice, compression and elevation as well as over-the-counter pain or anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen). Physiotherapist-directed exercises can also help to improve strength and flexibility in the knee. Sometimes time will help, but if you aren’t sure what to do, seek further advice.

What will happen if you just wait and see how it turns out?

If your knee is stuck and you can’t straighten it, you may have a displaced piece of meniscus that is jammed in the knee joint. Typically, that type of tear is best treated by trimming or repairing the piece that is blocking the movement. If left untreated, some meniscus tears can lead to further damage to the joint surfaces while others may settle fairly quickly. Occasionally we need to carry out an arthroscopy, a minor day-case procedure, to trim or repair the meniscus. Waiting and seeing how it turns out may be fine but knowing if your tear is safe to leave alone may be reassuring. This can be done by examining your knee and an MRI scan or/and X-ray.

What are the treatment options for a meniscus tear?

Options will depend on the severity of the injury and your individual needs and may include:

  1. Non-surgical treatment: this may include RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), medication and physiotherapy and possibly an injection of steroid to manage symptoms and promote healing.
  2. Arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery: this minimally invasive procedure involves using a small camera and surgical instruments to repair or remove the damaged meniscus.

How I can help if you think you have torn a meniscus

I have treated thousands of patients with this condition. If you think you may have torn a meniscus I would find out how the problem is impacting your life and activities such as sports, work, hobbies and travel.

I’d then examine your knee so we can be clear about the diagnosis. We usually then get X-rays or an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the problem. We could then be sure there weren’t other concerns like a ligament injury or stress fracture, also known as a Subchondral insufficiency fracture (SIF).

We would then discuss the various options for treatment and I’ll help you work out which treatment best suits you. Between us we may agree to do nothing and let nature take over. I frequently suggest that we try physiotherapy but we would also consider injections, braces and other non-operative treatments such as medicines.

We will also look at whether surgery could help you and the chances of it helping you return to full activity afterwards. We would discuss the pros and cons of surgery, risks and the likely post-operative recovery so that you could plan logistics such as time off work. Arthroscopy is a relatively minor procedure so you may be able to walk and just take thing quietly at home for a few days before returning to work. However, we could discuss whether you would need help in the early stages, how often you’d need to do physiotherapy and when you could get back to doing exercise.

If you would like my help please get in touch.