As an athlete, chances are fairly good that you know what a meniscus is. This tough piece of cartilage, which is found both on the inside and outside of the knee, helps to cushion, stabilize and provide shock absorption to the knee when active. Unfortunately, our orthopedists see a lot of meniscus tears. When this happens it’s important that you see a doctor right away to find how to repair the damaged cartilage.
If there is torn cartilage in the knee more than likely you’re dealing with a meniscus tear. While a meniscus tear can be the result of a sports-related injury (particularly contact sports) or bad fall, aging can also increase the risk for a meniscal tear due to the fact that the cartilage can wear away over time.
How is a meniscus tear treated?
Rest is key to helping your injury heal as quickly as possible. Of course, the first thing our orthopedists will need to determine is the location, size and severity of the tear in order to create an effective treatment plan. Along with rest, most patients will be able to ease pain and swelling through over-the-counter pain relievers and ice.
Most patients will also benefit from undergoing physical therapy, which will provide you with a variety of specific exercises designed to strengthen and improve stabilization of the muscles around the knee.
When do I need to consider surgery for a meniscus tear?
While not all tears will require surgery, it is important to recognize when a surgical repair may benefit you. Before deciding whether surgery is the best approach, our orthopedists will need to perform an MRI. While grade 1 or 2 tears are mild and will resolve with rest and non-surgical treatment options, grade 3 (more severe) tears will require surgical repair.
Arthroscopic surgery is now the gold standard when it comes to repairing a torn meniscus because it’s far less invasive and boasts a faster recovery period from traditional surgery. In order to fully restore function back into your knee, our team may recommend a partial or total meniscus transplant surgery, in which we need to remove the whole or part of the meniscus. A specialized implant device (or artificial meniscus) will replace the damaged meniscus.
If you are dealing with a meniscus tear, it’s important that you find an orthopedist that you can trust.
Call Samimi Orthopaedic Group at (310) 606-2156 or (626) 338-7391 to schedule an appointment today.