A meniscus tear is a common knee injury for athletes and those who participate in leisure sports like basketball or tennis. If you have knee pain that isn’t getting better with rest and ice, the experienced team of orthopaedic surgeons at Capitol Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation in Rockville and Damascus, Maryland, can determine if you have a meniscus tear or another treatable knee injury. Call to learn more about available treatments and the on-site physical therapy facility, or request an appointment using the online system.
The menisci are two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as shock absorbers in your knee. They provide a cushion between your femur (thigh bone) and your tibia (shinbone) and help keep your knee joint stable. Any activity in which your forcefully twist your knee or rotate it while your full weight is on the joint can result in a painful meniscus tear.
Athletes who play a sport like tennis or basketball, both of which require sudden stops or forceful pivoting, are susceptible to meniscus tears. You can also tear a meniscus simply by kneeling or squatting to lift something heavy.
Wear-and-tear on your knees as you get older can also cause your meniscus to tear during daily activities. If you have a degenerative joint condition like osteoarthritis, you may be even more susceptible to a meniscus injury.
Typically, when you tear a meniscus, you feel a popping sensation in your knee as it happens. Once the tear occurs, you may have:
If you don’t treat a torn meniscus, a piece of the cartilage can potentially come loose and become lodged under your knee joint. This can make your knee slip out of place or lock into position. It can also lead to osteoarthritis if left untreated.
The extent of your meniscus tear helps your orthopaedic surgeon or physical therapist determine the most effective course of treatment. If it’s just a minor meniscus tear, it can heal on its own with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers.
If the tear is more severe, you may benefit from knee arthroscopy, one of the most common surgical methods of repairing a meniscus tear. During this minimally invasive procedure, your surgeon makes a small incision in your knee to insert a miniature camera. The camera provides a clear view inside your knee while your surgeon repairs the torn meniscus.
Knee arthroscopy typically only requires a few small incisions and it’s done as an outpatient procedure under general or local anesthetic. Since knee arthroscopy is less invasive than open knee surgery, there’s less pain, swelling, and risk of infection.
Your recovery time from arthroscopic surgery is shorter as well, and the on-site team of physical therapists works closely with you and your surgeon to ensure you get back to your active lifestyle as quickly as possible.
To learn more about meniscus tears and knee arthroscopy, call Capitol Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation or schedule a consultation online today.