A meniscus tear is a common knee injury most often incurred while playing sports or exercising. Athletes, professional and amateur, and those who are highly physically active are particularly suspectable.
The knee meniscus is C-shaped cartilage located between the shinbone and the thighbone. You can tear it through a forceful twisting motion of the knee or by kneeling for extended periods of time and doing heavy lifting. Athletes who play basketball, soccer, football, and hockey have a significant risk of this injury because they often have to suddenly twist and change directions when playing. This injury is especially high-risk for those who play sports strenuously or don’t condition well.
If you feel like your knee is giving out or your range of motion has been limited, you could have a minor tear in your meniscus. A torn meniscus may be confused with an ACL tear because symptoms can overlap. Only an orthopedic specialist can diagnose you correctly and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Treating a Meniscus Tear
The recommended treatment for a torn meniscus will depend on the severity of your meniscal tear and its exact location. If the tear is located in the part of the cartilage that’s receiving good blood supply, it can be treated non-surgically. When there is good blood supply, the area will have access to oxygen as well as healthy nutrients and components, all of which are necessary for healing. Because of this, areas that lack good blood flow can be trickier to treat through nonsurgical means. Conservative treatments like RICE – rest, ice, compression, and elevation – are typically enough to heal minor to moderate meniscal tears in areas with good blood supply. You can also take anti-inflammatories for swelling and pain.
Surgery for a Torn Meniscus
For meniscal tears that don’t receive good blood supply or are particularly severe injuries, surgery is often required for correction. Surgery for a torn meniscus can now be completed through minimally-invasive arthroscopic surgery. This method is aptly called either arthroscopic knee meniscus repair or an arthroscopic meniscectomy. During the procedure, a surgeon repairs the torn meniscus using an arthroscope (tiny camera) and miniature surgical tools. A part of the meniscus may need to be removed as part of the procedure if it is damaged beyond repair.
The Role of Rehabilitation
Approximately 750,000 of knee meniscus surgeries are performed each year in the United States. Rehabilitation is a critical part of recovery. Physical rehabilitation programs following surgery typically include physical therapy exercises, which work to strengthen leg muscles for better support for your knee joint. For patients who undergo a partial meniscectomy, the recovery period is typically longer due to the time it takes for the cartilage tear to completely heal. Rehabilitation exercises have to be on hold until the cartilage has healed. It usually takes about three months to complete rehabilitation for a partial meniscectomy, whereas for a total meniscectomy, recovery is typically shorter.
Advanced Treatment for Meniscal Tear in San Antonio, Texas
If you suspect a torn meniscus, please see the experts at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine in San Antonio. By delaying to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment for your knee injury, you may be causing long-term damage that’ll be difficult to treat in the future. The sooner you seek treatment, the better the outcome will be.
Our orthopedic team will provide a prompt diagnosis and recommend a quick, effective treatment for your injury. Call us at (210) 692-7400 or submit an appointment request now. For your convenience, we offer everything under one roof, including diagnostic imaging, diagnosis, treatments (nonsurgical and surgical), and rehabilitation.