Repair Cartilage and Return to Action

torn meniscus knee painA torn meniscus is not an injury seen only in athletes. Knee cartilage becomes thinner and weaker as we age. Any sudden action can trigger a meniscal injury.

Some patients report hearing a ‘pop!’ while they doing something as simple as rising to their feet or swinging out of bed. If you feel a sudden pain and then notice swelling and stiffness around the knee, you may have a torn meniscus.

Torn Meniscus Symptoms:

  • pain in the kneecap area, and a swelling around the joint
  • a ‘catch’ or locking of the knee when you make certain movements
  • sudden weakness in the knee or a sense that the leg is collapsing when you try to stand
  • limited range of motion that prevents you from walking or running freely


Diagnosing Meniscus Tears

Many patients carry on with with daily activities without realizing they’ve suffered a meniscal tear. If your knee continues to ache and you feel a popping or locking of the joint, it’s best to have the doctor examine you.

should-your-kids-play-footballWhile you may be able to function with a torn meniscus, it could lead to complications if not treated. A fragment of cartilage can become lodged in the joint (which causes the locking or popping sensation).

In many patients, there is a pattern of tenderness along the joint. Dr. Jesse may administer a test called the McMurray which involves bending then straightening and rotating the knee. If this movement produces a clicking sound, that’s a sign that the meniscus is torn.

Other diagnostic tools include MRI.

X-rays may be ordered to rule out other possible causes of pain, such as osteoarthritis.


Torn Meniscus Treatment Options

Treatment depends on the type of meniscal injury. Some can be treated conservatively, with rest, ice and medication. Other tears can be relieved by surgery, to trim the torn cartilage or repair it. Treatment depends on the individual’s lifestyle, activities, age and general health, as well as the type of tear.

For more information, see the website of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons