What is a Meniscus?
Meniscus are two discs that separate the leg bones and help to comprise the knee joint.
These c-shaped discs help protect the cartilage covering the ends of the leg bones, allowing them to flow smoothly during movement. The Menisci also serve as cushion for shock associated with joint movements.
How does the Meniscus get injured?
A meniscus tear is common injury for athletes and older patients due to the likelihood of degeneration over time.
A meniscus tear typically occurs when a sudden twist or turn of your leg occurs while your foot is firmly planted. In more severe cases, blunt force trauma can be the cause of the injury.
There are three grades of Meniscus injuries:
- Minor – Grade 1 – This is a minor tear, marked by slight pain or swelling, lasting no more than 2 weeks
- Moderate – Grade 2 – This is a moderate tear, marked by swelling on the side or center of the knee that gets progressively worse over time.
- Severe – Grade 3 – In severe cases a piece of the Meniscus can move into the joint, causing pain, discomfort and the knee joint to “lock-up.”
Symptoms of a Meniscus tear
The symptoms of a Meniscus tear can varies based on the severity of the injury:
- Swelling around the knee joint
- Locking of the knee joint
- Click or popping of the knee joint
- Chronic pain in the knee joint
In the case of a mild to moderate sprain or tear of the meniscus, bracing and rehabilitation may improve knee instability.
Treatment Options for Meniscus Tears
Dr. Vigdorchik is a strong believer in prioritizing non-operative treatment, only recommending surgery when most beneficial to you.
In order to the determine the best treatment option for you, Dr. Vigdorchik carefully considers the patient’s condition, medical history, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
Nonsurgical treatment options include:
- Rest, ice, compression and elevation of the knee joint
- Corticosteroids (injections that block inflammation)
- Knee bracing
- Physical therapy
Surgical treatments for Meniscal tears include:
- Knee arthroscopy
- Meniscal transplant
- Minimally invasive surgery
What to expect after a Meniscus tear surgery
After Meniscus tear surgery, a complete rehabilitation program will be prescribed. Rehabilitation typically begins a week after surgery and continues for up to 16 weeks.
Physical therapists will begin with bracing, ice and electrical stimulation to reduce stiffness and swelling. As strength is gained, exercises to increase range of motion, such as riding a stationary bike or pool movement are used to further recovery.
Running is permitted after the first six to eight weeks. Return to sport typically happens after three months and a thorough examination of the knee joint.
Call us immediately – (646) 754-2000
If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms of a meniscus tear below, please call New York City knee surgeon Dr. Vigdorchik immediately to schedule an appointment. If left untreated, Meniscal tears often become more severe over time and cause further knee joint dysfunctions.
- Sudden, severe pain and swelling in and around the knee joint
- A loud pop when the knee joint was injured
- Inability to put weight on your leg or move your knee