Degenerative changes of the meniscus: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment
Degenerative changes in the menisci is the most common injury among people of all ages. They can be of different type (depending on the place of the damaged area) and different degrees. Damage to the meniscus of the knee joint mostly happens in athletes, as well as many other people, with a specific activity. The presence of degenerative changes in the knee leads to disruption of the locomotor system.
Therefore, it is important to begin treatment to avoid consequences. Treatment usually takes a long time, you need to be patient. Such pathology, as a tear of the medial meniscus or degenerative changes of the menisci of the knee joint, can lead to serious consequences.
If you discover the symptoms or signs of such damage on the knee (to be described below), you should immediately consult a doctor. After passing relevant examinations revealed the extent of the disease, and then prescribe a course of treatment. To understand how important a healthy meniscus of the knee joint, you need to know what function it performs. The menisci in the cartilage in the knee serve to reduce the occurrence of friction between the knee joint and reduce the limited movement. In turn, the meniscus (internal and external) contribute to the improvement of the rotation of the whole joint. Thus, any damage or degenerative rupture complicate the circulation, creating pain and sometimes inflammation.
Knees usually have two meniscus: internal and external. The first is called the medial (it is less agile) and the second lateral. Degenerative lesion of the internal meniscus treated harder than the outer. This is due to the fact that the structure of the medial meniscus no arteries (they are close), therefore, the treatment should be long and complex. The main function of the meniscus, which is composed of cartilage fiber attenuator, affected by any degenerative changes of the joint. Knee this forms a tumor, swelling, beginning to torment frequent pain and other distinctive signs of disease.
Degenerative changes can occur in anyone: there are no age restrictions. It is possible that over time the joint wears out — problems with health of the knee in old age. However, just because joint disease do not appear — even from an early age is necessary to protect your health, follow a healthy lifestyle and exercise, as many diseases develop over years and decades. Degenerative changes of the menisci of the knee joint occur due to the load on the joint at the time of its extension. In addition, a possible rupture with simultaneous rotation of the joint. There are many other reasons, which become damaged menisci. At risk are the people who make daily physical activity, in this case any sudden movement can break the cartilage tissue.
You should consider the fact that the inner meniscus is injured more often, as it has to this anatomical predisposition. What features are characteristic for degenerative changes of the knee joint? Separation of the meniscus on the ground, where they were originally located, the gap between the body of the meniscus is partially or completely, degenerative changes in the posterior horn of all this satellites problems with the meniscus, and further with the movement as a whole. In addition, this includes the torn ligaments that connect the meniscus — as a result, the joint becomes overly active.
When damaged, the meniscus can be observed the formation of hollow cysts, which usually is filled with fluid. Should not be excluded from this list and miniscope — degeneration that occurs in the background of other pathologies.
The symptoms of the degenerative process
Damage to the meniscus of the knee joint can be of two types: acute and chronic. The main symptom is the swelling on the knee, you may experience hypothermia. Other signs of rupture of the knee joint meniscus are considered to be a significant restriction of mobility of the knee, while there are pain in the affected area. If the damage was serious, there can be hemorrhage into the joint cavity.
The acute phase of the disease may last long depending on the space portion of the patient’s knee. Chronic stage can occur after 2 weeks of occurrence of meniscus tear of the knee joint. Already the pain will be more intense and constant, will be troubled even when walking. Therefore, doctors always recommended to be on bed rest, so as not to injure the leg. When the patient begins to move, you may experience a crunching and clicking — they are characteristic symptoms of the disease of the joint. If you feel sore, you will feel the joint roller. Damage to the meniscus in the chronic stage, is often accompanied by thinning of the tissues of the cartilage. Thus, there is the instability and unreliability of the knee — people with difficulty standing on his feet.
The overall clinical picture of the damaged meniscus of the knee joint about the following: knee appear edema and redness occur aching pain that intensifies with movement (and if the person moves, there are specific crunching and clicking), atrophy of leg muscles and thighs.
The disease is always accompanied by limitation of motion, a numb knee.
The causes of degeneration of the meniscus
Degenerative changes of the menisci of the knee joint and see the young people and the elderly. The disease is not age-related problem, most often it is purchased. For example, the risk group includes people who are engaged in professional dancing, or some sport. The rupture usually occurs because of the sharp (wrong) movement, which is typical for sports people.
Other causes can distinguish the presence of flat feet, sprains or improper formation of the disease leading to destruction of the joints (tuberculosis, rheumatism, etc.). Plays an important role and the weight of a person with its excess increases the risk of articular pathologies.
Characteristics of traumatic and degenerative tears of the meniscus
Degenerative meniscal tear of the knee joint accompanied by pain, which at times subside. This injury is typical for elderly people. The patient has swelling, knee damage can be seen immediately. Depending on the severity of the internal damage of the meniscus treated for a long time. Requires complex treatment, which is compiled beforehand by a doctor. Self-treatment or at what degree to do not recommended.
Tear of the lateral meniscus is most often traumatic in nature. When damaged a person has swelling and pain. Observed redness as the affected area can accumulate in the blood. Thus, a swelling on the knee that requires immediate medical care.
Diagnosis and treatment of injuries of the knee joint
If a person has a meniscus tear of the internal joint in the acute form, it can be easily diagnosed, because in this period, the symptoms of pathology pronounced. Much more difficult is the case with chronic form. In this case, you should pass all necessary examinations.
Ultrasonography (us), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diagnostic arthroscopy, x — ray all these tests must pass to reveal degenerative changes of the menisci of the knee joint.
Treatment of the patient depends on how serious the damage formed. Degenerative changes in the posterior horn (torn medial meniscus) are treated with conservative methods.
In this case, the patient is assigned to the puncture (if there is accumulation of blood in the cavity of the affected joint) and bed rest with no stress on bad knee. Usually the treatment takes 1 to 3 weeks. Always be imposed, and physiotherapy with exercise therapy.
Remember that all procedures should be performed after elimination of inflammation. In some cases (e.g., rupture of an internal meniscus) surgery as the only way out of the situation.