Meniscus Injuries

Munich’s meniscus experts: ECOM® Excellent Center of Medicine

The meniscus is one of the knee’s problem zones. In its function as a load distributor, braking mechanism and shock absorber, it is tasked with stabilizing the knee joint and is exposed to extreme impact during athletic activity and daily doing. Meniscus damage can be caused through dramatic injury or normal wear and tear and often results in extreme pain. Shooting pain is often experienced in cases of traumatic injury, while age-related meniscus damage is usually only recognized at a fairly late stage. Pain resulting from meniscus damage should be addressed as early as possible to avoid long-term or irreversible damage.

The knee experts at ECOM® Excellent Center of Medicine are specialized in the treatment of knee problems such as meniscus damage. With more than 25 years of experience, we stand for cutting-edge medicine with which we treat meniscus injuries incurred through athletic activity and daily doing. A surgical procedure is not always necessary. In many cases, meniscus injuries can be treated successfully with modern conservative forms of therapy. If a surgical procedure is necessary, it is usually performed by our knee specialists using conservative arthroscopic methods. And always with the goal of making a rapid recovery and the retention of mobility and athletic ability possible.

What is the meniscus?

The meniscus is a disk-shaped plate of cartilage in the knee joint. To be more precise, there are actually two of these disk-shaped cartilage plates in each knee: the half-moon shaped inner meniscus and the circular outer meniscus. These plates in the knee take over the distribution of weight and disperse it evenly over the joint surface. They serve as shock absorbers and protect the joint from overburdening.

Meniscus damage normally occurs through acute sports injuries or through chronic wear and tear. In cases of meniscus damage, we differentiate between injuries to the inner meniscus and to the outer meniscus. Injuries to the inner meniscus are far more common, as the inner meniscus is fixed to the medial collateral ligament and the articular capsule. For this reason, it is not particularly flexible and is less well able to offset the effects of overstimulation.

How does meniscus damage occur?

Meniscus damage is one of the most common injuries to the knee joint. We differentiate between two forms: degenerative meniscus damage and traumatic meniscus damage.

Degenerative meniscus damage can occur as a result of aging or through continual undue strain or overburdening. The loss of muscle tissue elasticity and a decrease in the production of joint fluids responsible for the regeneration of meniscus tissue follow. As a result, the meniscus loses resilience. Small cracks develop, which can become tears, even in cases of minimal traumatic force. Degenerative meniscus damage can occur in old age and in younger years alike. Long-term activity, done while kneeling or sports which continually strain the knee joints can contribute to degenerative meniscus damage.

Traumatic meniscus damage is the result of direct or indirect force to the knee joint. Common causes are sudden, diagonal turning or falling movements and abrupt stops, which expose the meniscus to powerful impact and gravitational forces. If these forces are too great, even a fully intact knee joint can suffer damage or even a meniscus rupture. Often the root causes for traumatic meniscus damage are sports injuries of the sort experienced by skiers or football and soccer players. Injuries to the meniscus frequently occur in conjunction with other knee injuries, such as cruciate ligament ruptures.

Which types of meniscus injuries exist?

We differentiate between individual diseases/disorders according to the gravity of the injury itself: meniscus lesions, meniscus irritation, meniscus contusions and meniscus ruptures. A meniscus lesion is a general term used to describe any and all damage to the meniscus. Meniscus irritation and meniscus contusions are less harmful variations of damage to the meniscus.  In these two cases, the meniscus experiences irritation or bruising as a result of accidental traumatic or continual overburdening, but it does not tear or rupture.  A clear-cut case of meniscus irritation or meniscus contusion can normally be treated successfully through conservative therapy, eliminating the need for a surgical procedure.

If the affected meniscus is not only irritated or bruised but torn, the injury is described as a meniscus rupture or torn meniscus. A meniscus rupture must be treated in any case, as it will not heal on its own. Quite the contrary: even the smallest of movements in daily life place a strain on the meniscus, allowing existing tears to continually enlarge. In most cases, treatment of a meniscus rupture in its earlier stages reduces the complications of treatment and healing. This is a widely known principle taken from the field of caries treatment.

How are meniscus ruptures treated?

A meniscus rupture can be treated using various methods. Primary methods of treatment include pain relief medication, physical therapy to increase strength in undamaged meniscus tissue as well as surgical procedures to restore the damaged meniscus. The individual form of treatment is dependent upon the level of pain experienced, the extent of retained joint mobility, and the patient’s age and/or athletic ability.

Younger, dynamic individuals are usually successfully treated for meniscus ruptures using minimally-invasive endoscopic methods, known as knee arthroscopy. In this case, our knee experts at the ECOM® Excellent Center of Medicine choose between two different approaches: the torn meniscus tissue can either be removed and the remaining tissue subsequently smoothed (partial meniscus resection) or reattached through sutures (meniscal suturing). Meniscal suturing is highly recommended for younger, physically active individuals, as this method allows the retention of the entire meniscus.

Your specialists for meniscus injuries and other disorders

Dr. Rembeck

“Innovative, minimally-invasive methods such as arthroscopy for the treatment of patellar tendinitis help patients quickly resume athletic activity and daily doing”.

Dr. Erich Rembeck

Specialist for orthopedic, sports medicine

Dr. Rauch

„The patient is often traumatized or in a state of shock. Targeted diagnostics and individual therapy are key factors for successful treatment“.

Dr. Alexander Rauch

Specialist for orthopedics and trauma surgery, sports medicine,  specialized trauma surgery

prof_gllwitzer_ecom

„Arthroscopic surgery has revolutionized the field of hip surgery and has paved the way to new, minimally invasive forms of treatment.“

Prof. Dr. Hans Gollwitzer

Specialist for orthopedics and trauma surgery
Specialist for orthopedics, sports medicine, chiropractic therapy

Consultation and contact data for questions about meniscus injuries

Do you have any questions regarding treatment and therapy for meniscus injuries in sports and daily doing? Our knee specialists, Dr. Erich Rembeck and Dr. Alexander Rauch, will be happy to provide you with more information in an individual and personal appointment. Please make an appointment here. We are looking forward to seeing you.