A collection of joint fluids caused by a tear within the meniscus cartilage is known as a Meniscal Cyst. Common symptoms of Meniscal Cysts include Pain in the knee when standing or Tenderness directly along the joint.
However, It can be treated at home by the rice method which includes rest, icing, compressing, and elevation. If it does not work your doctor may suggest other treatments
What is the Anatomy of a Meniscus?
The meniscus is a C-shaped wedge of fibrocartilage located between the tibial plateau and femoral condyles. It is a very common finding on a knee MRI. There are two menisci in the knee, the medial and lateral portions, with the medial meniscus being bigger to cover the larger portion of the thigh bone.
However, You can break up the meniscus into three zones, the anterior horn, the body, and the posterior horn. One of the problems the meniscus runs into is that because it is a cartilage, it lacks a certain amount of blood flow to the tissue for proper healing properties.
How does a meniscal cyst occur?
Meniscal cysts are often seen with meniscal tears that occur due to degenerative changes within the meniscus, although there may be an associated injury to the knee (pivoting or twisting injury). Given the frequency of meniscus tears, associated cysts are uncommon.
What is the Function of a Meniscus?
The meniscus is a cartilage pad that serves as a shock absorber, provides stress and facilitates nutrition to the knee. When the meniscus is torn, a small cyst can form adjacent to the tear. This cyst is thought to develop as part of the body’s healing response. Alone, a cyst is of little consequence and is present only secondary to the meniscus tear.
However, the cyst itself can cause discomfort and may be noticeable over the joint line where the meniscus is torn.
What are the Symptoms?
As mentioned earlier, this condition might show little or no symptoms. However, the most common signs and symptoms include:
- Sensitivity right on the joint line of your knee
- The appearance of a bulge or swelling at the place where the cyst is growing.
- Pain behind knee when we move our leg. from the chair
- An outgrowth that becomes more visible when you stretch the knee. Although, the lump might be painless.
- Size variation of the cyst, though it may also remain the same size.
What increases the risk of a Meniscal Cyst?
Common risk includes the following:
- Twisting, turning sports, in which the menisci can be torn.
- Previous knee injury.
- Associated knee injuries, particularly ligament injuries.
- Age, in which degenerative meniscus tears increase in frequency.
How can we Heal a Meniscal Cyst?
Common Treatments include:
For most tears, some simple exercises can help maintain muscle strength in the front of the thigh (quadriceps), back of the thigh (hamstrings), calf, and hip. All of these areas are important for your overall leg function while your knee heals after an injury or after surgery.
Anti-inflammatory medications, taken by mouth or injected directly into the knee, can be useful to reduce the pain and swelling symptoms associated with meniscal tears.
A short course of treatment provided by a physical therapist can help determine whether your knee will recover without surgery. Your physical therapist can help control pain and swelling in the knee area and work with you to restore full strength and mobility to your knee.
Your treatment may include:
- Manual therapy: Your physical therapist may apply manual therapy hands-on treatment that may include massage, stretching, or joint mobilization to help reduce swelling and stiffness and restore muscle function around the knee.
- NMES: Your physical therapist may use a treatment called neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES). NMES uses electrical current to gently stimulate/contract the muscles around your knee to help improve their strength.
- Assistive devices: It may be necessary to use assistive devices such as crutches, a cane, or a walker in the short term.
- Strengthening exercises: Your physical therapist will design exercises to build and maintain your strength during recovery and help restore full movement to the knee.
How can Surgery help in treating a Meniscal cyst?
Also, Your doctor may recommend surgery because:
- You still have pain after trying other treatments, such as rest and physical therapy.
- Your knee “locks up” instead of working normally.
- You may be able to reduce the risk of future joint problems
Arthroscopy to remove the meniscal tear is the procedure of choice. Often just removing the meniscal tear allows the cyst to decompress (shrink) and disappear without other treatment. Removing the cyst is not necessary. Simply removing the torn meniscus by arthroscopy is enough to stop it from coming back.
Also, Surgery may help you reduce the risk of other joint problems, such as osteoarthritis. There are no long-term studies to prove it, but many doctors believe that successful meniscus repair helps to evenly spread the stress placed on the knee joint.
How can we prevent this?
Exercise or other interventions such as bracing can prevent us from the meniscal cyst. Practices that can help keep your knees strong include:
- Regular exercise- to help strengthen the muscles that support your knees.
- Staying physically active-to prepare your body for the demands of a sport or strenuous activity.
- Avoid twisting or turning quickly while on the ground, to help prevent stress to the knee that can cause a meniscal tear.
If you already have knee problems, your physical therapist can help you develop a fitness program that takes your knees into account. Some exercises are better than others for those with a history of knee pain.