- Knee pain
- Feels like your knee is unstable
- Feels like your knee “catches” or “locks”
- Decreased range of motion in your knee
What is a Meniscal Tear?
A meniscal tear is a tear in the cartilages, that are located between the femur and tiba in the lower leg. These provide stability and also distribute body weight as they keep the bones from rubbing together. They also help provide nutrients into the tissues and cartilage that are over the femur and tibia. These cartilages also serve as shock absorbers. Sometimes, a sudden twisting that can occur in sports or related injuries or activities may cause the meniscus to tear. These are most common in people over the age of 30. As we age, the meniscus becomes weaker and can also occur from degenerative conditions such as arthritis. Your team of orthopedic surgeons at Orthopaedic Specialists will create a customized treatment approach for you according to the location and extent of meniscal injury, your age, activity level, duration of symptoms, other related injuries and personalized treatment goals.
Non-surgical treatment options for meniscal tears focus on keeping the pain and inflammation down and under control. The standard treatment option, often referred to as R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression and elevation), is generally used for the first few days after the injury. Ice should be applied approximately every 3 to 4 hours for about 30-45 minutes. This will help minimize discomfort and pain. Placing an elastic bandage around the knee and taking an anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen is an example) will also help keep the swelling at a minimum. After a short period of time, with this treatment, you can gradually return to normal activity as tolerated. While non-surgical treatment can relieve mild cases of a meniscus tear, surgery may still be necessary for severe cases.
Knee Arthroscopy (minimally invasive)
Dr. John Hoffman and Dr. Tuvi Mendel perform knee arthroscopy as a minimally invasive method of relieving knee pain due to meniscal injuries. An arthroscopic knee surgery can assist the surgeon in diagnosing the location of the pain that occurs with meniscal tears and is typically the most common form of surgical treatment options when the pain is severe and frequent. If damaged, the knee can become extremely unstable and arthritis may occur later in life. Some key benefits of arthroscopic surgery are improvement in mobility and relief from pain. In addition, the procedure is minimally invasive and results in a quicker and less painful recovery, on an outpatient basis.
When the meniscal tear is removed the surgeon uses an arthroscopic technique. Through one small incision in the knee a camera is inserted so that the surgeon can see the inside of the
knee joint. Through another small incision, a tool is placed into the joint that will grab and remove the torn piece of cartilage.
Depending on the type and specific location of your meniscal injury, your surgeon may treat the repair by suturing the torn meniscus back together.