A torn meniscus is a common knee injury that can be debilitating if not treated. Many times, this injury occurs when the knee is suddenly twisted or rotated with force. Each one of our knees has two menisci that are made of cartilage and shaped like a C. Many individuals try to treat this injury with rest, ice, compression, and over-the-counter medication, but there are times when surgery is required to repair the cartilage.
Many times, this injury happens during contact sports, such as football, but it can also occur during volleyball, soccer, and other non-contact sports. Runners can even experience this injury if they suddenly change directions. In addition, older individuals are at an increased risk for a meniscus tear because cartilage weakens with age. It is estimated than nearly 40 percent of individuals over the age of 65 have experienced this type of knee injury.
What are the Symptoms?
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should be evaluated for a meniscus tear:
- Moderate to chronic pain in the knee
- Popping during the injury
- The knee locking up or getting stuck
- Problems bending or straightening your leg
What is the Treatment for a Meniscus Tear?
The size and location of the tear will depend on how the injury is treated. However, other factors also influence treatment. These can include your level of activity, age, and if you’ve had any related injuries in the past. If you have torn the outer area of the meniscus, it is considered the red zone. This area has more blood flow and may be able to heal on its own if it is a minor tear. However, the inner area of the meniscus is known as the white zone and has a limited blood supply. When you tear this area of the meniscus, it is more difficult to heal because this region doesn’t have enough blood vessels to supply healing nutrients.
If the tear is small, rest, ice, compression, and elevation may be enough to heal the injury. When surgery is needed, the techniques that are used are innovative and considered low-risk.
Do you think that you may be suffering from a torn meniscus? We invite you to speak with our team at Plymouth Bay Orthopedic Associates, located in Plymouth, Duxbury and Sandwich. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn about your treatment options.