Sometimes referred to as “shock absorbers,” the menisci provide stability and help distribute body weight by keeping the bones from rubbing together.
A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Athletes are typically at higher risk for meniscal tears, but anyone at any age can tear a meniscus.
The two most common causes of a meniscus tear are due to traumatic injury (ie. from athletics) and degenerative processes (ie. older patients who have more brittle cartilage).
What Are Meniscus Tear Symptoms?
At the time of a Meniscus injury, signs and symptoms may include:
- A popping sensation during the injury
- Pain, especially when twisting or rotating your knee
- Swelling, stiffness or tightness in your knee
- Inability to move your knee through its full range of motion
How Is A Meniscus Tear Diagnosed?
To diagnose a tear, during your office visit Dr. Goradia will ask you about your symptoms and any injuries that occurred then carefully examine your knee for a variety of different conditions.
In most cases these two steps can provide the surgeon with a very good idea of your diagnosis.
To diagnose your tear, Dr. Goradia might also include:
- X-rays will also be performed. Although chondromalcia and meniscus tears are not visible on x-rays, the x-ray can provide important information regarding arthritis and fractures. If there is severe damage (i.e. arthritis), the x-rays will show it. However, you can have significant amounts of cartilage degeneration that will not be seen on x-rays.
- MRI – If a meniscus tear or cartilage injury is suspected, an MRI might be ordered. An MRI can identify meniscus tears and cartilage damage but only arthroscopy can accurately determine the extent of damage and simultaneously provide treatment.
Dr. Goradia is an expert in meniscus and orthopedic surgery. He co-invented the Arthrex Meniscal Cinch which is used by surgeons around the world for repairing a torn meniscus.
Dr. Goradia routinely teaches advanced knee surgery techniques to other surgeons at national courses.
How Are Meniscus Tears Treated?
Meniscal tears are typically removed. Most meniscus tears are in the inner 2/3 of the meniscus – they have no blood supply which means there is no potential for healing. These tears require excision of the torn segment which can be done with with arthroscopic surgery through two small skin punctures. After surgery patients can fully move the knee and walk and most don’t even use crutches.
There will be some swelling and discomfort from for the first few days to weeks. Most patients will require a few visits of physical therapy to regain strength and function.
If there is not any chondromalcia (cartilage damage) present most patients can expect return of full function without symptoms. If a large amount of the meniscus has torn then there is greater risk for developing arthritis in the future. In those under age 45 that have torn more than half of their meniscus, a transplantation of a new meniscus may be an option.
Repair of Torn Meniscus
- Tears in the outer 1/3 have healing potential and can be repaired
- These tears are much less common and usually occur with a sudden injury in young people
- After meniscus repair surgery, a brace and crutches are required. After two weeks patients are permitted to stop the crutches but need to continue the brace for 4 more weeks
- Physical therapy is required for all patients. Return to twisting, pivoting, jumping and sports activities is usually permitted at 4-6 months
Why G2 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine?
Whether working with recreational athletes, injured workers, or any other individuals, Dr.Goradia provides each patient with the quality of care given to professional athletes.
Dr. Goradia is a leading knee and shoulder specialist and one of the first U.S. orthopedic surgeons to be certified in sports medicine as a subspecialty.
When you come to Dr. Goradia you don’t get shuffled among various doctors or PA’s. You are personally treated by Dr. Goradia whose expertise and orthopedic success is extensive.