A meniscus tear can be a painful and debilitating injury. Some people think a meniscus tear can heal without treatment, but there are several different types of tears - many of which do not heal on their own.
What is a Meniscus Tear?
Your knee has two pieces of cartilage between the shinbone and thighbone. This slippery cartilage is the meniscus, and it acts as a cushion between the two bones.
Meniscus tears are commonly caused by forcefully twisting or rotating your knee. This is common in activities that involve aggressive pivoting, abrupt turns, and sudden stops.
If you’ve torn your meniscus, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
A feeling of popping
Impacted range of motion
Pain that worsens with pressure on the joint
A sensation of your knee “giving way” or locking
A torn meniscus is diagnosed during a physical exam with an orthopaedic physician, which could include x-rays and an MRI. Dr. Joseph and his team may ask you to move your leg and knee into different positions to help understand the extent of the injury.
How Are Meniscus Tears Treated?
At Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, Dr. Joseph always starts with conservative treatments whenever possible. Nonsurgical treatment options for a torn meniscus include:
RICE: Resting, icing, compressing, and elevating the knee can reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Medication: Anti-inflammatory medications can help with pain and swelling.
Physical Therapy: Certain exercises and stretches can help strengthen the muscles around your knee, preventing additional injuries while stabilizing the knee joint.
If your meniscus tear doesn’t respond to nonsurgical treatment, Dr. Joseph and his team may recommend surgical treatment. After surgery to repair the torn meniscus or remove the unstable edges, you will need to participate in physical therapy to regain your knee strength and stability.
When left untreated, a meniscus tear can significantly reduce your quality of life and lead to long-term knee issues in the future. In certain instances, the torn meniscus could even pull pieces of shredded cartilage loose and cause the knee joint to lock up.
Meniscus Treatment in Eagle and Summit County
Don’t let a knee injury keep you from doing what you love! If you are experiencing symptoms of a torn meniscus, contact Team Joseph today.
Dr. Joseph is Vail and Frisco’s foremost expert in treating knee injuries. Request a consultation today using our online platform or by calling our offices at (970) 476-7220.