Injuring your knee by tearing your meniscus might make you unable to get back to your normal routine. But you can recover with treatment from Oke Anakwenze, MD, at Olympus Orthopedic Medical Group in San Diego. Dr. Anakwenze and his team diagnose your knee pain and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan. Just call or use the quick online booking option to schedule your appointment.
Meniscus Tears Q & A
What does the meniscus do?
Three bones come together to form your knee: your femur, tibia, and kneecap. But without any cushioning, the bones would just rub together and grind down. That’s where your meniscus comes into play. Each knee has an inner and an outer meniscus, which are cartilage cushions between your thighbone and shinbone. Their rubbery texture allows them to fill the space between your bones and absorb shock.
How does the meniscus tear?
Athletes who play contact sports, like football, are particularly prone to getting meniscus tears. But a torn meniscus can affect anyone at any point in life. Bending and twisting motions of your knee are usually the culprits in tearing the meniscus.
As you age, you have an increased risk of knee problems, since your meniscus starts breaking down. In this case, you’re more likely to suffer from a torn meniscus just by doing something routine, like getting up from a chair.
Will I know if I have a torn meniscus?
Probably, depending on the severity and your pain tolerance. Usually patients describe hearing and feeling a popping sensation as the meniscus tears. You may still be able to walk around afterwards, and not realize you have an injury, but it may be painful.
When you have a torn meniscus, you’ll likely have:
- Pain or throbbing
- Swelling or stiffness
- A weak knee that gives way
- Decreased range of motion
- Popping or locking sensations
Is surgery always necessary?
Not always. If your tear is small and on the outer edge of your meniscus, you probably won’t need surgery. You still need to give it time to heal though. Dr. Anakwenze may suggest using crutches to get around, so you don’t put weight on your knee. Letting it rest, using ice throughout the day, applying compression, and keeping it elevated are the best things you can do to let a minor meniscus tear heal.
What happens during surgery?
If you have a more severe meniscus tear that requires surgery, Dr. Anakwenze discusses your options with you. Sometimes, all he needs to do is go in and cut away the outer damaged part of your meniscus, so it doesn’t break away and get stuck in your knee joint.
For more severe tears, he may have to stitch up your injured meniscus. With either surgery, you benefit from rehabilitation to help get your knee back into shape.