As an athlete, you are susceptible to many different injuries, no matter the sport. Sometimes these injuries can be mild or acute. Other times they may be extreme. Academy Orthopedics is no stranger to sports injuries, especially meniscal tears. This is a widespread knee cartilage injury that can either be treated surgically or non surgically, depending on severity.
For clarification, the anatomy of your knee joint consists of three bones: your thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap. Between the thighbone and shinbone is what is known as shock absorbers. The clinical name for the shock absorbers is the menisci. It is a two-wedged-shaped piece of fibrocartilage that helps transmit weight from one bone to another. It plays a key role in knee stability.
Causes and Symptoms of Meniscal Tears
Meniscal tears commonly happen in sports. The most notable occurs through either a contact or non-contact injury like pivoting or cutting injury.
As we all age, though, there is more of a likelihood of developing degenerative meniscal tears. The aged, worn tissue is more prone to tears, so an awkward twist or turn may be enough to cause a tear in the meniscus.
Hearing or feeling a pop when anyone suffers meniscal tears is quite normal. In fact, most people are still able to walk or continue participating in their sport. It takes about two to three days though before the knee becomes gradually more stiff and swollen. The most common symptoms of meniscal tears are:
Stiffness and swelling
Catching or locking knee
The sensation of the knee giving way
Inability to move your knee through the full range of motion
Orthopedic Treatment for Meniscal Tears
Treatment options for a meniscal tear depend on several factors. Your age, symptoms, and activity levels are all taken into consideration. The type, size, and location of the injury are also evaluated by an orthopedic. There are two categories treatment falls under, either non-surgical or surgical.
Under nonsurgical orthopedics will recommend the RICE protocol. RICE is an anacronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The injured athlete or individual should follow this method and break from the activity that caused the injury. Use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time throughout the day. Wear an elastic compression bandage to prevent further swelling and blood loss. Put your leg up higher than your heart to also help reduce swelling. Surgeons also recommend anti-inflammatory medication.
Surgical treatment includes a knee arthroscopy where the orthopedic surgeon inserts a small camera through a small incision in the knee. Once a clear view is established, they will insert surgical instruments to repair the tear. Orthopedic surgeons may also repair the meniscus by suturing the torn pieces together. In other instances, a partial meniscectomy is an option. The damaged meniscus tissue is essentially trimmed away in this procedure.
Schedule an Appointment with an Orthopedic Surgeon Today
A meniscal tear should be dealt with immediately. Call the trusted orthopedic surgeons at Academy Orthopedics to schedule an appointment. Make an appointment today by calling 770-271-9857 or completing a contact form on our website. The sooner you can have a meniscal tear repaired, the sooner you can get back to an active lifestyle.