Meniscus Injury Treatment in Boston, MA
A meniscus tear is a common knee injury. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage in your knee that cushions and stabilizes the joint between your thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia). The meniscus is a rubbery C-shaped disk and acts as a shock absorber. Each knee has two menisci, one on the outside and one on the inside of the knee.
As you age, your cartilage can wear down especially if you have arthritis. In fact, more than 40 percent of people 65 or older report a torn meniscus.
Tearing a meniscus is also very common while playing sports, due to sudden motion or direction changes.
A tear can be vertical longitudinal, vertical radial, horizontal, oblique, or complex.
How Do I Know When My Meniscus is Torn?
When your meniscus is torn, you may:
- Feel a pop when your meniscus is torn.
- Experience pain in the knee joint
- Experience swelling or stiffness, locking knee
- Be unable to bend or straighten
What is the Treatment for a Torn Meniscus?
If not treated, part of the meniscus may come loose and slip into the joint. Untreated meniscus tears can increase in size and lead to complications, such as arthritis. If you have knee pain, you will want to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. There are several options for treatment, depending on the severity of the tear.
Your doctor can help diagnose a torn meniscus upon evaluation or imaging. We will look at the structure of your knee and talk to you about your options. Factors determining treatment largely depend on your age, activity level, the severity of the injury, and other outside factors.
Non-surgical treatment for tears that can heal on their own may include:
- Physical therapy
- RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
- Anti-inflammatory medications
For more severe tears, surgery is typically the best course of treatment.
The goal of surgery is to preserve the meniscus by repairing or removing the torn part. The procedure is typically done arthroscopically, where a small camera is inserted into a tiny incision in the knee to guide the surgeon using small instruments inserted into another tiny incision. If the tear is too big to repair, we may remove all or part of the meniscus.
Meniscal repair shows 80 percent success at 2 years. After surgery, you may need to participate in physical therapy to strengthen your knee, generate blood flow, regain your range of motion, and get back to your activity.
When should I see Dr. Theodore for a Meniscus Tear?
Surgery is a very effective way to repair a torn meniscus and you should get a consult as soon as possible. Knee injuries are very bothersome to everyday activities, and they are certainly serious for athletes wanting to continue to participate in sports.
After recovery, your knee will be more stable, and you’ll be less likely to develop additional knee problems.