Torn Meniscus

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Our knees play a crucial role in the way we are able to function every day. That is why knee injuries can become an instant and unexpected source of stress. Meniscal tears are among the most common knee injuries, especially among athletes.

At JIS Orthopedics, we have helped many recover from this form of knee injury. If you believe you have a torn meniscus, schedule an appointment today at one of our convenient locations in New Albany and St. Clairsville, OH. Our highly trained team can provide treatment for your meniscus tear and get on the road to recovery!

The Importance of the Meniscus

Your meniscus is a c-shaped pad of cartilage located under your knee, and it serves as a cushion and shock absorber. This is important because our knees absorb a large amount of impact when we participate in various daily activities. Your meniscus keeps your knee joint supported, comfortable, and functional.

What is a Torn Meniscus?

A meniscus tear is damage or a tear in the cartilage that acts as a cushion between your thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia). These tears can happen to anyone, regardless of their age.

Depending on the location, you may have a medial meniscus tear or a lateral meniscus tear. The medial meniscus is located on the inner side of the joint, while the lateral meniscus is found on the outer side.

There are a variety of tears that can occur. The 6 most common meniscal tears include:

  1. Radial
  2. Horizontal
  3. Intrasubstance/Incomplete
  4. Flap
  5. Complex
  6. Bucket-Handle
Dr. Lombari helping a patient with a torn meniscus.

Torn Meniscus Symptoms

If you have a torn meniscus, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain, especially when bearing weight or twisting your knee
  • Feeling a “pop” at the time of the injury
  • Stiffness/locking
  • Difficulty extending your knee joint fully
  • Pinching
  • Swelling
  • Feeling like your knee may give out

It is important to note that an untreated meniscus tear can become more severe over time and produce further complications, hindering you from returning to your regular routine. Delaying treatment can increase your risk of developing degenerative knee arthritis. Thus, it is important to get evaluated by a specialist as soon as possible.

What Causes a Meniscus Tear?

The most common cause of a meniscus tear is a significant impact or a sudden, forceful twisting of your knee in the wrong direction. This is known as a traumatic meniscal tear. These tears are common among athletes who play sports like soccer, tennis, basketball, football, etc.

Degenerative meniscus tears are common among the older population. A degenerative meniscal tear is caused by the breakdown and degeneration of the meniscal structure over time. It is important to note that the tear pattern in a degenerative tear is very different from that of a traumatic tear. 

You can technically strain your meniscus as well. When this occurs, it may cause swelling and stiffness. It can be treated by means of icing, anti-inflammatory medications, and some stretches/exercises. If your pain persists, then further investigation and treatment will be required.

While meniscus tears are hard to prevent because they occur unexpectedly and by accident, there are some steps that you can take to reduce your risks. These steps include:

  1. Strengthening the muscles that stabilize your knee
  2. Using a knee brace
  3. Wearing proper shoes that are designed for the sport you are playing

How Is a Torn Meniscus Diagnosed?

To accurately diagnose your meniscus tear, your orthopedic specialist will review your medical history and perform a physical evaluation of your knee. During this evaluation, your range of motion will also be tested.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be requested to provide your specialist with a diagnostic view of the cartilage within your knee.

Meniscus Tear Treatment Options

Meniscus tears can be treated conservatively or surgically, depending on your injury’s severity and type of injury.

Physical therapy can help manage the pain of your torn meniscus. Physical therapy can also increase your ability to move and rotate your knee joint.

If your knee injury does not respond to conservative treatment, surgical intervention may be required to help your meniscus tear heal. Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery in which part of the cartilage is removed or fixed. This form of surgery will allow most to recover within 6-12 weeks.

You may find comfort in knowing that most people fully recover from a torn meniscus and return to participating in their favorite activities without knee pain!

Have you been dealing with a meniscus tear that has been limiting your day-to-day activities? Our experts at JIS Orthopedics can help!

We will provide an accurate diagnosis of your situation and take the best course of action to help you recover! We are conveniently located in New Albany and St. Clairsville, Ohio. Schedule an appointment online today! 

Medically reviewed by Dr. Zackary Byrd

JIS can diagnose and treat your injury, and help you recover

Experiencing knee pain that is limiting your day-to-day activities? Come in and see us. We’ll make sure we diagnose your situation appropriately, and take the best course of action to get you back up to 100%. Schedule an appointment online or by calling 614.221.6331

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