GUSTAVEL ORTHOPEDICS BLOG

21May

What is a Torn Meniscus?

Knee | | Return|

Experiencing pain, but unsure what is causing it? Has your doctor recently diagnosed you with a Torn Meniscus? We hope this article will give you all the information you need to make decisions that you feel confident in!

What is Meniscus?

Meniscus is a piece of cartilage in the knee that sits between the shinbone and thighbone, like padding. There are two Menisci in each of your knees, the Medial on the inside and the Lateral on the outside. Either of these Menisci can be torn, though the Medial is more likely.

Causes

There are normally several contributing factors to a Torn Meniscus, here are just a few:

  • Degeneration- the older you are, the more at risk you may be 
  • Normal/untreated wear of the Meniscus
  • Sudden twisting or squatting motions
  • Heavy lifting using the knees
  • Sports/physical activities- Athletes are more at risk than others
  • Normal activities of daily life (If the weakening of your meniscus has gone too far, anything may cause it to tear)

Symptoms

Most people know immediately when something is wrong- a pop, twist, or sudden pain. Here are a few things to watch and listen for:

  • Audible/sensory 'Pop'
  • Stiffness, difficulty moving 
  • Knee-locking
  • Swelling
  • Pain when pivoting or otherwise moving the joint
  • Weakness, or inability to hold any weight

Treatment

Using an X-Ray, MRI, or another test, your doctor will formally diagnose you with a Torn Meniscus. But what happens next? Depending on the severity of the tear, there are two main options:

1. Time and Rest

Can it heal on its own? The answer is 'Yes', sometimes. If the tear is smaller, and no damage has been done to any of the surrounding muscle/tissue, your doctor may tell you to take a break. Keep the knee elevated, iced, and take medication for pain and swelling if necessary. If you are young, it is likely the tear will heal, and you will experience no long-term effects. If you are older, and your tear is degenerative, your knee may never fully recover, and you may develop arthritis. 

2. Orthopedic Surgery

If the tear is more severe or has caused damage to other parts of your knee, your doctor will most likely recommend surgery. Normally, your doctor will begin with Arthroscopy, and if necessary, more extensive orthopedic surgery (Trimming the Meniscus, Knee Replacement).

Recovery

Physical Therapy is the most important part of the recovery process. In order to strengthen the muscles and prevent further injury, your doctor will schedule Physical Therapy, and a plan will be put into place to get your knee back into shape.

Contact Gustavel Orthopedics for a Torn Meniscus

Are you ready to make an appointment or looking for more information? Contact Dr. Gustavel for more information or a consultation regarding a Torn Meniscus. When you experience any sort of knee pain, the last thing you want to worry about is the quality of specialized care you deserve. At Gustavel Orthopedics we pride ourselves in patient care & independence in health care choice. Dr. Michael Gustavel is a renowned Orthopedic Surgeon in Boise, Idaho who has been practicing since 2002.

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