A meniscus tear may not immediately cause pain because the symptoms can take a few days to develop. Meanwhile, if you stay active, further damage can occur. The board-certified physicians at New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine in New Braunfels, Texas, encourage you to schedule an appointment as soon as you detect a knee problem. They thoroughly examine your knee and prescribe treatment to restore the knee’s strength and mobility. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature.
The meniscus is in your knee joint. It consists of two C-shaped pieces of cartilage on top of the shin bone. The cartilage ensures that the shin bone, or tibia, and thigh bone, or femur, can move smoothly without rubbing together. The meniscus also helps stabilize your knee and serves as a shock absorber.
Meniscus tears typically occur when you twist your knee. Pivoting, cutting, quickly changing direction, and suddenly slowing down when running are examples of movements that lead to a meniscus tear.
As you get older, degenerative changes may also weaken the cartilage. As the meniscus deteriorates, you can end up with a tear that occurs during normal daily movements.
You may notice a pop when the injury occurs, but you may not immediately have other symptoms. Over the two or three days after the tear, you experience:
You also may not be able to straighten your knee. If a piece of meniscus breaks off, your knee may lock or slip.
Your doctor at New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine determines the best treatment based on the location and size of the meniscus tear. The outer part of the meniscus has a strong blood supply. A small tear in the outer part may heal on its own, provided you rest your knee.
The inner two-thirds of the meniscus doesn’t have a good blood supply. Without enough blood flow, the injury can’t receive the nutrients and oxygen it needs to heal. A tear in this area needs surgery to trim or remove the damaged cartilage.
Your New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine doctor may use an MRI or perform diagnostic arthroscopic surgery to evaluate the damage. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves small incisions.
Using an arthroscope equipped with lighting and a high-definition camera that transmits to a monitor, your doctor gets an excellent view of the meniscus and can determine the severity of the tear. If the meniscus needs surgical repair, your doctor performs the procedure during your arthroscopy.
When you develop pain and swelling in your knee, call New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, or book an appointment online as soon as possible.