Whether caused by an injury or simple wear over time, a meniscus tear can greatly limit your active lifestyle. It’s one of the most common knee injuries, so it’s important to know that you have treatment options at Naples Orthopedic. Here’s what to know about it and how we can help.
What is the Meniscus?
The meniscus is a disc-shaped piece of cartilage between the two major bones of the knee. There are two menisci – one each on the inner and outer sides of the knees. The meniscus serves as a cushion and a shock absorber during movement. Injuries involving the meniscus are one of the most common types of problems that an orthopedic surgeon will see.
How Do Meniscus Tears Happen?
As you age, the menisci and other cartilage tissues begin to turn more brittle and less spongy, making them more prone to tearing. Most commonly, you’ll feel a sudden pop or click in the knee.
Meniscus tears are most common during movements where you aggressively twist or rotate your knee, like when suddenly stopping or turning. It can also happen during weight-bearing movements like squatting, lifting, or kneeling. Activities (especially sports like basketball, football, or soccer) can put stresses on the meniscus and lead to tears. Uneven surfaces can also put uneven weight on the knees, causing extra strain. This is common when trail running or falling during a game. Force to the knee that causes it to overextend can also cause tears.
Meniscus Tear Symptoms
In most cases, an acute meniscus tear causes pain on either the inner or outer side of the knee, or in the back of the knee. The most common symptoms are pain, which worsens over the next 24 hours, with mild or moderate swelling. A small meniscus tear (called an acute meniscus tear) can continue to deteriorate on a longer-term basis. This is called a chronic meniscus tear.
Chronic tears of the meniscus can lead to pain while walking, especially when twisting or changing direction. It often can give the sensation that the knee is giving out. This may interfere with the ability to do sporting activities, squatting, or even simply walking or standing for long periods of time. The meniscus, in some instances, can actually get stuck and prevent the knee from bending or straightening fully.
How is a Meniscus Tear Treated?
If you suspect you have a meniscus tear, your first line of treatment should involve rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. However, to diagnose a meniscus tear, you should meet with your orthopedic specialist. An MRI is the best way to diagnose a meniscus tear, and this can help determine the severity of the injury.
We offer a few non-surgical treatment options at our Naples office. These include a variety of treatments to boost recovery and reduce downtime. Combined with rest, these options can improve acute meniscus tears.
If non-surgical treatment doesn’t improve your symptoms, then surgery is an option. Dr. Goldberg performs arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. This is performed in an outpatient setting so you can return home the same day. Most patients require about four weeks of recovery after this surgery, during which physical therapy is recommended. Dr. Goldberg and your orthopedic team can work with you to prevent future injuries and make sure you can return to your active lifestyle safely and quickly.
Schedule an Appointment
Knee injuries can be demoralizing and uncomfortable. To meet with our supportive team and learn more about your treatment options, we invite you to contact our Naples office by calling or filling out our online form.