Meniscus tears can fool you at first because the symptoms may take several days to develop. In the meantime, if you stay active, you risk causing further damage to the cartilage. See David Junkin, MD, at Ani Medical Group in Hazlet and Old Bridge, New Jersey, as soon as you suspect a problem as many meniscus tears won’t heal on their own. To learn more about treatment for your meniscus injury, call Ani Medical Group or schedule an appointment online today.
The menisci are two C-shaped pieces of cartilage located on top of the shinbone in your knee joint. The function of a meniscus is to ensure smooth movement between the shinbone (tibia) and thigh bone (femur) within the joint. The meniscus also stabilizes your knee and absorbs shock.
You’re most likely to develop a meniscus tear when you make a twisting movement with your knee. Other activities that often cause a meniscal injury include pivoting, cutting, quickly changing directions, or suddenly slowing down while running.
Degenerative changes may weaken the cartilage as you get older. When that happens, you can end up with a meniscus tear from simply performing usual daily movements.
You may feel a pop when the injury occurs, but many patients can continue using their knee. Over the next two to three days, your symptoms gradually worsen as you develop:
Many patients find they can’t put their knee through its full range of motion. For example, you may not be able to straighten your knee. If a piece of the meniscus comes loose, it can make your knee catch or lock.
Your treatment depends on the location and size of the meniscus tear. The outer area of the meniscus has a healthy blood supply. A small tear in this part of the meniscus may heal on its own as you rest your knee.
However, the inner two-thirds of the meniscus lacks a good supply of blood. Without blood, it doesn’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients to heal. As a result, a tear in this area needs surgery to trim or remove the damaged cartilage.
Your surgeon performs an arthroscopy to evaluate the damage and repair the meniscus. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a narrow device containing a camera and lighting, and specially designed surgical tools that can be inserted through small incisions.
Any time you develop pain and swelling in your knee, call Ani Medical Group or use online booking to schedule an appointment.