A sprain in the ankle causes an injury to the ligaments around the ankle. Such injuries can cause pain and swelling. In addition, the patients may feel as though the joint may give way.
The cartilage of the ankle joint is susceptible to injuries if ankle sprains, fractures or other ankle injuries are left untreated.
Strains of the muscles around the hip and pelvis can cause pain and spasm. The most common strains are groin pulls and hamstring strains.
The menisci can be torn by shearing forces of rotation that are applied to the knee during sharp, rapid motions. This is especially common in sports activities that require reaction body movements. There is a higher incidence with aging and degeneration of the underlying cartilage. More than one tear can be present in an individual meniscus. The patient with a meniscal tear may have a rapid onset of a popping sensation with a certain activity or movement of the knee.
You may experience pain on the inner or outer side of the knee during activities. Some patients also experience ‘locking’ which is a sensation of a ‘jammed’ knee that is unable to straighten fully.
Occasionally, it is associated with swelling and warmth in the knee. It is often associated with locking or an unstable sensation in the knee joint. The doctor can perform certain maneuvers while examining the knee which might provide further clues to the presence of a meniscal tear.
Routine X-rays, while they do not reveal a meniscal tear, can be used to exclude other problems of the knee joint.
The meniscal tear can be diagnosed in one of three ways:
- Arthroscopy - A surgical technique where a small diameter video camera is inserted through tiny incisions on the sides of the knee to examine and repair internal knee joint problems. Tiny instruments can be used during arthroscopy to repair the torn meniscus.
- Arthrography - A radiology technique where a contrast liquid is directly injected into the knee joint and internal structures of the knee joint so that they become visible on X-ray film. It is not used commonly used nowadays as MRI is getting more popular.
- MRI Scan - A radiology technique where magnetic fields and a computer combine to produce two- or three-dimensional images of the internal structures of the body. It does not use X-rays and can give accurate information about the internal structures of the knee when considering a surgical intervention. Meniscal tears are often visible using an MRI scanner.
Once diagnosed, meniscal tears are generally repaired arthroscopically.