The meniscus is referred to as two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as shock absorbers between your thighbone and shinbone. They are tough and rubbery to help cushion the joint and keep it stable.
Meniscal tears are among the most common knee injuries, especially in athletes who play contact sports. However, anyone at any age can tear a meniscus. Older people are more likely to have degenerative meniscus tears due to the weakening and thinning of cartilage over time.
Menisci tear in different ways, and they are noted by how they look and where the tear occurs within the meniscus. Common tears include bucket handle, flap and radial. Sports-related meniscus tears often occur along with other knee injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament tears.
When a meniscus is torn, a “pop” might be felt. Most people can still walk on an injured knee, and many athletes can continue playing with a tear. Over the course of 2-3 days, the knee will gradually become more stiff and swollen. The most common symptoms include:
- Stiffness and swelling
- Catching or locking of your knee
- The sensation of your knee giving way
- Inability to move your knee through its full range of motion
OKC Orthopedics, Sports & Pain Medicine is committed to helping patients with meniscal tears return to the highest level of activity possible. Our team of orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and athletic trainers work together to tailor a treatment plan to each patient’s needs and goals.
Smaller tears on the outer edge of the meniscus may not require surgical repair. As long as symptoms do not persist and the knee remains stable, nonsurgical treatment may be all that is necessary. However, if symptoms do persist, arthroscopic surgery may be suggested. Our orthopedic surgeons are experts in knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure in which small instruments and a thin, flexible medical device with a camera pass through an incision the size of a small Band-Aid. After surgery, our physical therapists guide each patient through a personalized rehabilitation program to restore strength and mobility.