Meniscus tears are among the most common knee injuries experienced by athletes and non-athletes alike. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kavanaugh, MD, and the team at AZ Ortho in Scottsdale, Arizona, are experts in treating meniscus tears and other knee injuries. If you think you may have a torn meniscus, call AZ Ortho or book an appointment online today.
The menisci are two wedge-shaped discs of cartilage that cushion and stabilize your knee joint. These tough and rubbery pieces of cartilage absorb shock in between your thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia).
There are different types of meniscus tears, including flap, radial, and bucket handle tears. The type of meniscus injury you have depends on the appearance of the tear and where it occurs.
Meniscus tears can happen suddenly or appear gradually. Sudden meniscus tears often occur during sports when you twist your knee. Gradual meniscus tears happen as a result of degenerative damage that occurs with age.
If you tear your meniscus during a sports injury, you may hear a “popping” noise. Over the next 2-3 days, your knee becomes stiff and swollen. Other common signs and symptoms of a meniscus tear include:
Many athletes continue to play with a torn meniscus if they can still walk on the injured knee. But without proper treatment, a piece of the meniscus may break off and drift into your knee joint. This may lead to further damage and knee instability.
First, the team at AZ Ortho performs a thorough physical exam and reviews your medical history. They may take imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to diagnose your meniscus tear.
Then, they develop a personalized treatment plan based on the type, size, and location of your specific meniscus tear. A tear on the outer third of your meniscus may heal on its own because of the rich blood supply that brings nutrients to this region.
However, the inner two-thirds of your meniscus don’t have a blood supply and therefore can’t heal without surgery. The team at AZ Ortho is highly trained in minimally invasive techniques such as arthroscopy.
If you suspect you may have a torn meniscus, call AZ Ortho or book an appointment online today.