Your knee is the largest joint in your body and, arguably, one of the hardest-working, as it provides you with critical support and mobility. A tear in your meniscus can have a major impact on how this joint functions, limiting your movements and causing you pain. The team of orthopedic doctors at Peninsula Orthopedic Associates (POA) has a combined experience and depth of knowledge that allows them to help their patients in Daly City, California, regain the use of their knees through meniscal repairs. To find out more, call or request an appointment using the online scheduler.
Your knee, which is the largest joint in your body, is where three bones come together — your thigh bone (femur), your shinbone (tibia), and your kneecap (patella). In order to keep these bones from jarring against one another, you have two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage called your menisci in each knee that act as shock absorbers between your shinbone and your thigh bone.
Most cartilage damage in your joints comes on the heels of wear-and-tear and degenerative conditions, but meniscus tears are usually the result of an acute injury.
Older people can tear their meniscus during the course of their routine daily activities, as they tend to have thinner and weakened menisci from years of use. Athletes, on the other hand, often present with a torn anterior cruciate ligament or another knee injury in conjunction with a torn meniscus, as a result of contact in sports.
To determine whether you’ve injured your meniscus, the following are the most common signs:
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, your doctor at POA can perform an evaluation. The bottom line is that you should have it checked out because if a meniscal tear goes untreated, a piece of cartilage may slip into your joint space, which may cause your knee to lock or slip.
After a full assessment of your knee using X-rays, MRIs, or arthroscopy, your doctor at POA comes up with the best treatment plan for your meniscal tear.
For small tears at the edge of the cartilage, which has a good blood supply, your doctor typically recommends the RICE approach: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This, coupled with anti-inflammatory medications, allows enough time for a minor tear to heal.
If your tear is deeper and larger and doesn’t benefit from a good blood supply, your doctor may recommend arthroscopy to visualize, clean up, and repair the torn cartilage.
For severe tears in younger patients (usually under the age of 55) who don’t have arthritis, meniscal transplant surgery may be a good option. This approach carries minimal risk and generally has good outcomes. Rest assured, the donated tissue is screened preoperatively for infections. This nearly eliminates the risk of infection. In short-term studies, transplantation has shown to improve activity-related pain and swelling in 80-90% of patients.
If you’re dealing with a torn meniscus, call Peninsula Orthopedic Associates for comprehensive and expert care. Or request a consultation using the online form.