A meniscal tear is a common knee injury that can affect anyone. Injury to the meniscus can come from both physical trauma and gradual wear-and-tear, putting athletes and older individuals at a greater risk.
The menisci are two c-shaped pads that lie between the femur and tibia bones. These pads are made of tough fibrocartilage that helps stabilize the knee and absorb shock from its movement.
The medial and lateral menisci increase the surface area, where long bones attach at the knee joint. They also allow for the spread of synovial fluid to lubricate the joint and articular cartilage of the femur and tibia.
A meniscus injury involving trauma may be due to sudden and forceful knee twisting motions and excessive weight bearing. This puts athletes that play sports like basketball, football, and skiing at risk for knee injury involving the meniscus.
Older adults are also at risk for meniscal injury. The fibrocartilage may be weakened after years of wear-and-tear, and require less forceful movements to be injured. Symptoms include swelling, stiffness, and difficulty bending and straightening the leg.
When the meniscus is injured the knee joint becomes unstable and the bones rub abnormally. Articular cartilage surrounding the ends of long bones (femur and tibia) become susceptible to injury from unstable joint movement.
A small injury to the meniscus may be left to heal with the help of physical therapy. But, if the injury is big enough, treatment involves arthroscopic surgery to remove or repair the injured meniscus. Surgical repair or removal of the meniscus is not very effective in the long-term and often lead to recurring symptoms.
Why Prolotherapy Works?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) prolotherapy is effective in most cases of meniscal injury and provides long-term relief of symptoms. This is because it stimulates and supports the natural healing process of the meniscus, rather than stitching it up or removing it.
The meniscus has a low blood supply that limits its healing. This is why large tears are not usually left to heal on their own. PRP injections deliver healing mechanisms directly to the site of injury, leading to the repair of torn cartilage and tightening of the knee joint. This restores long-term mechanical use of the joint and alleviated related symptoms. Learn more about Prolotherapy here.
Hauser, Ross A., et al. “Platelet Rich Plasma Prolotherapy as First-Line Treatment for Meniscal Pathology.” Practical Pain Management, www.practicalpainmanagement.com/treatments/complementary/prolotherapy/platelet-rich-plasma-prolotherapy-first-line-treatment.