Each knee contains two crescent-shaped pieces of cartilage called menisci. They sit between the thigh and the shin bone. They act as shock absorbers, absorbing the impact of the upper and lower part of the knee.
A torn meniscus or ‘torn knee cartilage’ as it is sometimes referred to is one of the commonest knee injuries. It occurs when the menisci cartilage becomes torn either through exercise, playing sports or gradual wear and tear as you get older.
Our renowned medical team provides a range of treatments, from the traditional to the innovative:
This is an effective and well-researched procedure that’s a potential alternative to surgery. It takes advantage of the blood’s natural healing properties to reduce pain and improve joint function. It uses a specially concentrated dosage of platelets prepared from your own blood to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscle and bone. Patients usually see their symptoms improve in one to two weeks of having the injections. Read more clinical evidence supporting PRP here.
A pioneering new treatment using your body’s own stem cells from a combination of Lipogems® and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy to treat pain and inflammation. It harnesses natural repair cells removed from your body fat to target problems affecting discs, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles.
The procedure takes around an hour and early results suggest an improvement for 75% of suitable patients. The minimally invasive procedure is a possible alternative to having an operation or can be used after surgery to help healing. Further information on AMPP® and its benefits can be found here.
A torn meniscus can occur at any age and it is caused by twisting of the knee. In younger people, it often happens during exercise or playing sports which involve kneeling, squatting or pivoting such as football, tennis or basketball. In older people, it can be caused through minor knee injuries or gradual wear and tear. This type of tear is known as degenerative tears.
A torn meniscus can lead you to experience some of the following symptoms in your knee:
• Pain when twisting or rotating the knee
• Swelling – this usually occurs a few hours after the injury
• A popping sensation
• Pain when trying to straighten your knee
• Stiffness, as though it is locked in place when you’re trying to move your knee
• A feeling like our knee is loose as though it may give-way
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to get it checked out immediately to avoid further complications.
If you are experiencing stiffness, pain or swelling in your knee a doctor will examine your knee and discuss your symptoms to understand what is causing it. They may also ask you to perform a range of exercises so you can pinpoint exactly where the pain is.
The doctor may refer you to have an:
• X-ray – a torn meniscus is made up of cartilage and while this won’t show up on an X-ray, an X-ray can help to see if there any other problems which could be causing the pain
• MRI – using a magnetic field and radio waves a detailed image of the hard and soft tissues is created
• Arthroscopy – a pencil-thin telescope (arthroscope) which contains a light and a camera is passed through a tiny incision in the knee to relay back enlarged images of the inside of your knee
Treatment for a torn meniscus aims to relieve symptoms and improve the function of the knee.
Initial treatment may include medications such as analgesics which help reduce the pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDS – which reduce the pain and inflammation and steroid injections which reduce inflammation and provide short-term relief.
In most cases a torn meniscus can be treated by resting the leg and avoiding playing sports that involve twisting, rotating or pivoting the knee. You can also help reduce the pain, inflammation and swelling by applying ice to the affected area for 15 minutes every 4 to 6 hours. If you do this, it’s important to place a cloth between the ice and your skin to prevent you getting an ice-burn.
Compressing the affected area can also help reduce inflammation and pain and keeping the leg elevated will also aid recovery.
Reducing the amount of alcohol you consume can also help with healing, as drinking alcohol can increase bleeding and swelling in the knee.
A range of physiotherapy techniques can help with runner’s knee. These include:
• Strengthening exercises – which strengthen the muscles that support your knees
• Wearing knee braces or using crutches
• Taping the knee to reduce the pain and to make it easier for you to exercise
Our expert team specialises in treating patellar tendinopathy using advanced non-surgical techniques including stem cell therapy, AMPP® Activated Mesenchymal Pericyte Plasma (using Lipogems® technology) and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy.
Surgery may be recommended if non-surgical treatment options aren’t improving your symptoms or if you have a large tear in the menisci cartilage. This involves passing tiny instruments through an arthroscope (a pencil-thin telescope) which are used to restore the damaged cartilage or in severe cases, remove the damaged cartilage.
While the surgery is a routine procedure, it will involve a period of rehabilitation afterward.
Our experienced consultants will undertake a thorough examination exploring non-surgical and surgical treatments. They’ll also discuss your suitability for our state-of-the-art biological therapies.
Your consultation will be with one of our knee specialists, Professor Wilson, Mr. Sam Heaton, Mr. Jamie Arbuthnot, Mr. Arj Imbuldeniya, Mr. Rohit Jain, Mr. Ed Britton or Mr. Amit Kumar and will last approximately 30 minutes. You may be asked to attend for an MRI scan, prior to your appointment.
As well as undertaking an examination, our specialists will take details of your medical history and discuss your symptoms. They will also detail all your treatment options and cover their potential benefits and risks.
Our expert team comprises of highly experienced surgeons, sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists who are committed to delivering a high level of care and the correct treatment option so you can quickly get back to moving around.
Autologous translates as ‘from the same person.’ In brief, it involves using your own cells to encourage healing. The major benefits are that there is no chance of rejection, infection or contamination as you are using cells from your own body rather than a donor.
We offer a range therapies based on this principle which can be considered if traditional treatments including surgery aren’t relieving your pain.
Biological treatments are pioneering procedures and we’re continuously monitoring and recording its effectiveness. Patients undertaking these treatments are asked to complete pre-operative and post-operative questionnaires.
The information obtained from these questionnaires allows us to monitor your progress and it also contributes to our evidence-based database and other global studies on biological treatments. All information gathered is anonymised.