Cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones in your joints. When it gets damaged in an injury or accident, it can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. Meniscus tears are injuries that affect the cartilage in your knee, and they’re one of the most common types of knee pain.
Meniscus tears often occur in athletes who play contact sports, but non-athletes are at risk, too. Accidently twisting or bending your knee in an awkward way can leave you with a torn meniscus. This type of injury poses a particular risk for older individuals, because cartilage naturally deteriorates and gets more fragile with age.
Whatever the cause of your knee pain, Chris Boone, MD and our team are here to help. We specialize in diagnosing and treating meniscus tears, whether you need physical therapy or orthopedic surgery to get you healthy again.
Diagnosing a meniscus tear
The femur, tibia, and patella are the three bones that create your knee joint. They work with cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, giving your knee motion.
The rubbery cartilage between the femur and the tibia is called the meniscus. It’s wedge-shaped and cushions your bones and stabilizes the joint. When you suffer a meniscus tear, the cartilage in your knee rips, either partially or completely.
Most of the time, you can still bear weight on your knee after a meniscus tear. However, meniscus tears may not heal on their own. Pain and swelling are likely to increase the longer you wait to seek treatment.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear often include:
- An audible pop when injury occurs
- Stiffness or locked joint
- Joint instability
- Joint weakness
- Low range of motion
When you come into the office with knee pain, Dr. Boone examines your knee and reviews your symptoms. He may order imaging tests to get a better look at your knee. Meniscus tears range in severity, depending on how badly the cartilage is damaged
Treatment for a meniscus tear
Once Dr. Boone diagnoses your meniscus tear, he recommends a treatment plan that’s right for you. Small tears that just affect the outside areas of the meniscus often heal with conservative treatment methods.
Dr. Boone gives you tips for at-home care, which can include rest, ice, compression, and elevation. He may prescribe medication to alleviate pain or swelling as your knee heals.
Severe tears may not respond to conservative treatment methods. In these cases, the best treatment could be surgery. With knee surgery for a meniscus tear, Dr. Boone repairs the cartilage using the latest in orthopedic surgical techniques. He may remove damaged cartilage and use stitches to reattach torn pieces.
Physical therapy is an important element of treatment when you’ve suffered a meniscus tear, regardless of its severity. Rehabilitation exercises target the muscles around your knee, building strength and restoring range of motion. Participating in physical therapy can reduce your risk of future injury, whether you’re an athlete or a weekend warrior.
If your knee is giving you problems, don’t ignore it. Find comprehensive care for knee pain right here. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Boone online, send us a message, or call our office today.