Meniscus tears are among the most common and painful knee injuries. At Alliance Spine Associates, LLC, in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, experienced pain management physicians and orthopedic surgeons provide surgical and nonsurgical care to stabilize the knee after a meniscal tear. It is very important to seek medical care as soon as possible to avoid further injuries and long-term complications. To learn more, call Alliance Spine Associates, LLC, or schedule an appointment online today.
The meniscus is a flexible piece of cartilage that cushions the knee, where the femur (thighbone) meets the tibia (shinbone). The patella, or kneecap, protects these structures, allowing you to extend your leg and bear and shift weight from one knee to the other.
Menisci primarily act as shock absorbers for these structures. Each of your knees has two menisci, and either one of them can inflame or tear. Without healthy menisci, your knee can lose stability.
You may not realize you have a meniscal tear at first. Many individuals can still walk and bear weight with meniscal injuries. Understanding the signs and symptoms of a meniscal tear encourages you to seek treatment right away before your injury causes additional damage. Common symptoms of a meniscal tear are:
If you have a meniscal tear, your knee may also lock-up or feel like it’s about to give way when you bear weight.
Most sudden meniscal tears are acute sports injuries and car or slip-and-fall accidents. Sports that involve twisting, running, and pivoting, like basketball or football, are most likely to cause meniscal injuries. Degenerative conditions, like osteoarthritis — a progressive disease that causes cartilage to break down — can also cause meniscal tears over time.
Many people with meniscal tears also experience anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. The ACL connects the femur and tibia. A meniscal and ACL tear can leave you with severe knee pain and instability.
After a comprehensive physical exam, the Alliance Spine Associates, LLC team orders a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. This scan allows the team to view the soft tissues inside your knee to diagnose a meniscus and ACL tear. These scans also help the team grade the severity of your injury for the appropriate treatment.
The treatment protocol the team recommends depends on the severity of your injury. Nonsurgical treatments for a meniscal tear include:
Meniscus repair is an arthroscopic procedure in which the team inserts a small camera into your knee through tiny incisions. This technique gives the team a clear view of the inside of your knee to repair the meniscal tissue without damaging the surrounding structures.
If you have a torn ACL, the team may repair or reconstruct your ligament. They can perform both procedures in one surgery.
To learn more about meniscal tears, call Alliance Spine Associates, LLC, or schedule an appointment online today.