Orthopaedic Institute of Henderson
Orthopedic Surgery, Arthroscopy, & Sports Medicine located in Henderson, NV
Meniscus tears affect 14% of adults, making them the second most common knee injury. When you struggle with knee pain and swelling, the board-certified specialists at the Orthopaedic Institute of Henderson offer their years of experience successfully treating meniscus tears, helping each person regain their strength and function. If you need help with knee pain, call the office in Henderson, Nevada, today, or request an appointment online.
Meniscus Tear Q & A
What is the meniscus?
The meniscus is a C-shaped cushion of cartilage between the two leg bones that form your knee joint. You have two menisci covering the top of each shinbone. The meniscus reduces friction between the bones, absorbs shock, and equalizes the pressure in the joint.
What causes a meniscus tear?
Meniscus tears happen when you twist your knee. You’re most likely to suffer this type of injury when you do things like pivoting or suddenly stopping while running.
The meniscus also gradually breaks down as you get older. As a result, you can easily tear the cartilage without much force on your knee. For example, you could tear the meniscus if you twist your knee while getting up from a chair.
What symptoms develop due to a meniscus tear?
Your symptoms could appear immediately, or they could gradually get worse during the first few days after injuring the meniscus. The symptoms of a meniscus tear include:
- Joint stiffness
- Locked joint
- Limited range of motion
- Feeling like your knee is giving out
The force that injures your meniscus could also cause other problems in the knee joint, like a torn ligament.
How are meniscus tears treated?
The best treatment for your torn meniscus depends on how severe and where the injury is. Your provider can use diagnostic imaging like an MRI to determine where the tear is. In some cases, you’ll need knee arthroscopy so that they can closely examine the tissues.
The meniscus has two zones that determine your treatment:
Red zone treatment
The outer third of your meniscus is called the red zone because it has a strong blood supply. If your tear happens in the red zone, the meniscus usually heals with conservative treatments like rest and changing your activities. A severe tear in the red zone will need surgical repair.
White zone treatment
The inner two-thirds of the meniscus lacks a supply of blood. If your tear happens in this white zone, the meniscus won’t heal on its own.
Treatment for a white zone tear can begin with conservative treatment like physical therapy or a steroid injection. Otherwise, white zone tears require minimally invasive knee arthroscopy to surgically trim or repair the cartilage.
If you suffer a knee injury or want to learn more about meniscus tears, call the Orthopaedic Institute of Henderson or book online today.
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