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Meniscus Tears: What Patients Should Know

May 31st, 2024Knee PainOrthoHC

Meniscus tears are among the most common knee injuries. Athletes who play contact sports are particularly at risk, but anyone at any age can tear their meniscus. If you suspect you have an injury like a meniscus tear, it’s important to seek medical attention quickly to avoid long-term knee problems. Here’s what you need to know about meniscus tears and how The Orthopedic Health Center can treat them:

The Anatomy of a Meniscus Tear

The menisci are crescent-shaped wedges of fibrocartilage that sit between the tibia (lower leg bone) and the femur (thigh bone). They protect the lower part of the leg from the shock created by our body weight. Meniscus tears usually occur when you rotate or twist your knee sharply while the joint is under strain.

Types of Meniscus Tears

There are six types of meniscus tears: radial, intrasubstance, horizontal, flap, complex, and bucket-handle. While all meniscus tears impact the knee, the part of the meniscus these tears affect and their complexity differ. Getting the right treatment is crucial for optimal recovery results, which is why it’s important to seek help from an orthopedic knee specialist as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Meniscus Tears

You might feel a pop when you tear your meniscus. Most people can walk on their injured knee at first. However, after two to three days, the knee will become more stiff and swollen. Common symptoms of a meniscus tear include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness and swelling
  • Catching or locking of the knee
  • Inability to fully extend or bend the knee
  • Instability of the knee

Treating Meniscus Tears

If your tear is minor, resting and icing may be enough to heal it. In most cases, however, treatment should be led by an orthopedic specialist who can properly assess the injury. There are various treatment options available for a torn meniscus, including:

  • Pain management injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Sports medicine
  • In more serious cases, orthopedic surgery

Preventing Meniscus Tears

It can be challenging to prevent an accidental injury like a meniscus tear, but there are ways to lower your risk. For example, you can:

  • Strengthen the muscles that support your knee
  • Wear a brace if your knee is weak or unstable
  • Start with lower-intensity exercises before working your way up
  • Wear the proper athletic shoes based on the activity you’re doing

Advanced Knee Care Close to Home

Meniscus tears can range from mild to severe, and treatment options can vary based on your specific injury. At The Orthopedic Health Center, we use modern, minimally-invasive procedures to avoid surgery whenever possible — and many of our patients are up and walking by the next day. For more information or to schedule an appointment in Hoboken, Jersey City, or Bayonne, contact us today.

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