Initial treatment of a meniscal injury requires only basic first aid. The meniscus is cartilage, between the femur and tibia, that absorbs shock in your knees. Minor tears in the meniscus cause swelling, but serious tears can cause the cartilage to dislodge into the joint. Meniscal tears are a common sport injury, but long term deterioration and damage cause unexpected tears as well. The Mayo Clinic recommends online that you wrap your meniscal injury directly after the injury occurs to avoid excess swelling and inflammation.
Things You'll Need
- Elastic compression bandage
Take pressure off of the knee by resting it on a slightly elevated surface. Do not try to hold the leg in the air; this strains the soft tissue in the knee joint.
Wrap the knee snugly with an elastic compression bandage. Begin from the back of the calf 1.5 inches below the knee cap. Wrap around the calf upward, and overlap the bandage. Leave only half an inch of the bandage uncovered by the next layer.
Cross the bandage over the top of the knee cap diagonally from the lower interior (inside) to the upper anterior (front). Wrap the bandage completely around the thigh twice and repeat the diagonal cross over the knee cap from the upper interior to the lower anterior. Create this criss-cross over your knee two to three times. Again, overlap the bandage with half an inch of the bandage uncovered by the next layer. Cover the knee cap and most of the side section of the knee joint.
Wrap the elastic compression bandage upward on the thigh as you begin to run out of bandage. Secure the bandage with pins, or tuck the loose end underneath the other layers of bandage to secure it.
Check the tightness of the bandage. If you can fit more than two fingers flatly between your thigh and the bandage, it is too loose. If you cannot fit two fingers between them, it is probably too tight. If the bandage causes discomfort or cuts off circulation, unwrap it and try again.
Check mobility of the knee. The bandage should support the knee, but not completely restrict mobility.
Tips & Warnings
- Apply ice to the injured knee, and keep it elevated. Refrain from physical activity, and use crutches if the knee is too tender to walk on.
- If a minor meniscal injury is recurring, purchase a neoprene knee brace for support.
- Injuries to the meniscus are often accompanied by damage to the ligaments and tendons in your knee.
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