The lateral meniscus: tear and treatment

Torn Lateral meniscus TearThe lateral meniscus: The lateral meniscus is also known as the external semilunar fibrocartilage.; A meniscus is an interarticlular fibrocartilage of crescent shape, found in certain joints, specially the lateral and the medial menisci or also known as the semilunar cartilages of the knee. This is generally found as an fibrocartilaginous band that spans the lateral side of the interior knee joint. This is prone to injury, and the type of injury inflicted upon the lateral meniscus include those caused by vigorous twisting which in turn tears it, by the application of direct force. These kind of injuries are frequent in full contact sports, a torn lateral meniscus can also sometimes be found in skiers. The anatomy of the lateral meniscus is as follows; it is grooved on the lateral side. This groove serves as hook for the popliteus tendon, which seperates it from the fibular collateral ligament. The anterior end of the lateral meniscus is attached in front of the intercondyloid process or eminence of the tibia bone. This is directly lateral to and posterior to the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee with which it blends. The posterior ends of the meniscus are attached to the intercondyloid process and directly in front of the posterior part of the medial meniscus of the knee. The anterior attachments of the meniscus are in amatter of speaking almost twisted upon themselves giving the meniscus free extremities which are oriented backwards and upwards. The anterior end is resting on sloping bone directly in front of the lateral part of the intercondyloid eminence of the tibia. Along the posterior attachments of the meniscus it is the site for the emergence for a strong fasciculus nown as the ligament of Wrisberg. The ligament of Wrisberg passes upwards and medially to have a eventual insertion into the medial condyle of the femur bone. This attachment to make things clear is immediately posterior to the posterior cruciate ligament of the knee. Sometimes small fasiculus pass forwards to be eventually inserted into the lateral part of the anterior cruciate ligament of the kee. The lateral meniscus is also the origin for fasciculus which form the transverse ligament these arise from the anterior convex margin of the lateral meniscus.Healthy functioning of the knee is directly related to the health of the lateral meniscus as it is the site of origin and insertion of numerous knee ligaments. Hence any injury to this can be excruciatingly painful and requires lengthy periods for recovery. The lateral meniscus is less prone to injury than say a torn medial meniscus. The diagnosis for a torn lateral meniscus is done using a McMurray test. If a tear or injury is detected, the treatment protocol is directly related to the type and size of the tear. Smaller tears require only conservative treatment with rest, and ice packs. Analgesic treatments may also sometimes be required until and unless the pain is brought under control. Eventually after a period of rest physiotherapy is required and one can be in physicallt fit shape in 3 to 4 weeks. In severe injuries however surgical intervention is required and even excision is done arthroscopically to correct the problem.