A torn meniscus is a common orthopedic knee injury, especially among athletes like runners or basketball players. The meniscus can get torn or stretched when the knee joint incurs a forcetul “twist” or “hyper-extension.” It doesn’t have to happen during an athletic event, it can happen to anyone at any time.
Pain from a torn meniscus can be constant and especially stressful even when one is simply walking, climbing, and bending. Other symptoms of a torn meniscus include swelling, snapping or popping, and a knee that is just giving out.
The good news is that many times a torn meniscus can be treated without surgery. In fact, it is first suggested that you try these therapies before considering anything more invasive, like knee surgery:
- Try resting your knee as much as possible by use crutches or a cane to avoid putting weight on the knee joint.
- Do avoid any activities that add to your knee pain.
- Ice your knee every three to four hours for 30 minutes for several weeks to minimize swelling and inflammation. This will also help reduce the pain.
- When you do have to incur activity or walking, wrap your knee in an ace bandage to keep inflammation at a minimum.
- When at home, keep you knee elevated your knee to reduce swelling.
Some meniscus tears can heal on their own using the advice listed above but, more severe tears must be treated with surgery. If pain persists, then surgery is probably the only treatment that will help the injury heal completely. The good news is that the surgery is not difficult. Most patients do very well after meniscus surgery and with physical therapy, the knee returns to normal function within six weeks. Here is an idea of what you can expect from knee meniscus surgery: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00358 .
It is difficult to say without full examination and an MRI if a torn meniscus will require surgery. While your primary care physician may diagnose a torn meniscus, it is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the treatment of this type of injury. A sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon, like specialist Dr. Jason Vourazeris, has the most experience and training in an injury such as a torn meniscus.
If you suspect you have a torn meniscus, you should have it looked at immediately. Without proper treatment and rehabilitation, you may cause more damage to the knee that should be. To consult with Dr. Jason Vourazeris at Ortho El Paso, call 915-249-4000 or schedule at www.orthoep.com. You will be seen immediately and prescribed the best treatment program for your knee injury.