What You Need to Know About Knee Meniscus Injuries
One of the most common injuries our physicians at Space Coast Orthopedics see in young athletes is a tear of the medial meniscus. The knee contains two menisci. These function to distribute stress during weight bearing activities. When stress is distributed evenly, damage to the cartilage is reduced and ultimately arthritic degeneration can be reduced. Menisci also serve to stabilize the knee and allow for smooth motion of the joints.
What causes a meniscus tear?
More often than not a meniscal tear occurs behind the knee and is the result of the knee twisting when flexed or in a weight bearing position. This pushes the entire force on the meniscus and results in a tear. These tears do not health themselves if they’re beyond 1 centimeter in length. Oftentimes tears of this length require medical attention, particularly when they occur alongside other injuries like an ACL tear.
What are the symptoms of a meniscus tear?
A meniscus tear is incredibly painful and is usually noticed as soon as it happens. Typically a person will feel paint along the join line, particularly at the back of the knee. They may also experience a locking feeling and see swelling, along with aching throughout their day.
How do you treat a meniscus tear?
The treatment recommended for a meniscus tear will depend on the extent of the injury, as well as a person’s age. The older a person the less vascular a person’s meniscus and the lower their ability to health.
Individuals over 35 are usually treated through surgery.
Small tears don’t typically show many symptoms and can often be treated non-operatively through rest. Physical therapy can also help with the healing and is found to be successful in about fifty percent of individuals.
Another way to treat a meniscus tear is by wearing a brace. These help to stabilize the knee and ensure further damage does not occur while healing is taking place. Finding the right brace is important. That’s why we recommend you discuss your options with Dr. Teurling.
What if I don’t need surgery?
If your tear is not bad enough to need surgery, it will likely take anywhere from six to eight weeks to heal. During these weeks it is crucial that you take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and make sure you follow the doctor’s orders.
If you were sent for physical therapy follow the therapist’s instructions to get the most out of your treatment.
If you believe you are suffering from a meniscus tear, we recommend you give our office a call. Dr. Teurling has extensive experience treating these tears and can help find the most conservative treatment for your needs.