One of the most common knee injuries is a meniscus tear, especially if you are an athlete or live an active lifestyle. It usually occurs with a sudden jerking or twisting of the knee, resulting in a torn meniscus. The meniscus is a crescent-shaped section of cartilage that cushions the bottom of the femur (thighbone) and the top of the tibia (shinbone) so they don’t rub against each other as you move your knee.
Every knee has two menisci: a lateral meniscus and a medial meniscus. The lateral menisci are located near your hands when you’re standing up with your arms resting along your sides, and the medial menisci are next to each other when you’re standing with your legs together.
A torn meniscus can happen to patients of all ages. However, it becomes more commonplace as we get older and our tissues become less stable.
Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus
When a meniscus is torn, it causes symptoms that can develop and worsen over several days if left untreated by a physician. Some signs that point to a torn meniscus include:
- Popping sound
- A slipping or locking sensation
- Inability to bear weight on the knee
- Limited range of motion
- Inability to extend the knee normally
The symptoms of a torn meniscus are similar to those of other types of knee injuries, which is why getting a proper diagnosis is necessary to receive the right treatment. You may be asked to undergo an X-ray, MRI, or arthroscopy to fully examine your knee.
Treatment for a Torn Meniscus
Your doctor will recommend treatment depending on the type, extent, and location of the tear.
- Initial treatment can be conservative, which involves rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication.
- It’s important that you rest your knee and not immediately return to sports or physical activity, lest you further damage your knee or cause permanent injury.
- Physical therapy is also part of the treatment to restore strength and range of motion.
Today, torn meniscus repairs can be done through minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery and the use of miniature surgical tools by your surgeon. Patients who undergo arthroscopic knee surgery typically return to their pre-injury state soon after receiving physical therapy.
Having a history of tearing your meniscus can actually increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis. This is also called wear-and-tear arthritis or age-related arthritis, but it can also happen to young athletes. Talk to your doctor about how to prevent knee injury in the future.
Top Orthopedic Care in Farmington Hills, Michigan
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons here at Tri County Orthopedics provide comprehensive treatment to our patients who have musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, including a torn meniscus. We specialize in general orthopedics and arthroscopic surgery, which means we offer many different approaches to ensure that you make a full recovery.
To schedule a consultation, contact our friendly team at Tri County Orthopedics by calling us at (248) 474-5575 or request an appointment via our online form. We look forward to helping you get back to doing the things you love!