Our knees help us do our everyday activities, from cleaning the house to playing those sports we love. When you experience a torn meniscus the symptoms are similar to that of knee osteoarthritis. Thus, making it hard to locate the pain source.
Main symptoms commonly found with both a torn meniscus and osteoarthritis include:
- An ache in the knee joint area during and after exercise or strenuous activities like jogging, stair climbing, or bicycle riding.
- Swelling about the knee, occurring from inflammation, which tends to make the knee hurt when touched.
- The knee locking in place, making it difficult to bend down or extend the joint completely. With a torn knee meniscus and osteoarthritis of the knee, various kinds of cartilage are affected within the knee itself.
Knee Osteoarthritis is when damage occurs to the articular cartilage. This is the tough, slick material covering the femur (thighbone), along with the shinbone (tibia), and right behind the Patella (knee caps). However, when a torn meniscus occurs, there is damage to the flexible rubbery cartilage which helps to cushion the shin and thighbones in the knees.
Below are a few indicator questions that will help you to determine the source of your knee pain. But, for a more accurate diagnosis, it is best to visit your primary care physician.
1. When did your knee pain begin?
One big difference between having a torn meniscus and arthritis is if the pain started throughout time or began after a knee injury. When knee pain continues to increase and can’t be pinpointed to one specific injury, chances are you probably have arthritis setting in.
Sudden knee pain is usually a sign that you have a torn meniscus. This is more prevalent in highly active individuals who play sports. Such as football, basketball, tennis, soccer, and are prone to meniscus tear injuries.
2. What type of pain are you experiencing?
Another insignificant difference with a meniscus tear and knee arthritis is the type of pain felt.
Those suffering from osteoarthritis often have dull and/or constant pain. The deteriorating of the knee’s cartilage causes your bones to rub one another while in motion, causing stiffness in joints and creating a grinding noise.
Individuals who suffer from a meniscus tear often feel a sharp pain right after sustaining a traumatic injury. However, with much-needed rest, it can completely vanish only to return after turning the wrong way. Causing the inner and outer parts of your knee to become tender, which can be an indication of a meniscus tear. Whichever condition may be the cause, location and the severity play key roles in the determination of pain levels from arthritis or a torn meniscus.
The Thessaly Test
The Thessaly test is a method used to diagnose a torn meniscus, which you can perform at home. Simply rest both of your hands on a counter.
Note: It might be helpful if performed with assistance.
Standing upon your injured leg to start the test. Make sure to slightly bend the knee at a twenty-degree angle. Bending the opposite knee to your back, with your foot completely off of the floor.
Keep the foot solidly planted into place; twisting the entire body, rotating your hips in a back and forth motion three consecutive times.
If you are experiencing a locking sensation while performing this test, there is a good possibility you’ve got a meniscus tear.
Your age plays a role in risk.
Age also plays a big factor in the determination of pain sources as well. Arthritis occurs mostly in adults and is known to be a degenerative disease. Meaning breakdown of cartilage over time, from things such as overuse.
With the ability to occur at any age, meniscus tears are common among young adults and those living an active lifestyle.
Getting Treatment From a Physician for Knee Ailment
Regardless if you have a meniscus tear or arthritis, the BEST option is to seek medical attention from a professional who can treat and diagnosis. Thus, enabling you to get immediate attention and have a chance at living a pain-free life!