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What is a Torn Meniscus? Information Provided by Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston

A torn meniscus is a common injury that can cause pain and instability in the knee. It occurs when one of the menisci – the small pieces of cartilage that provide cushioning for the shin and the thigh bone – suddenly ruptures.

In most cases, a torn meniscus is the result of a forced rotation in the knee. This can occur as the result of direct contact (e.g., a collision during a basketball or football game) or as the result of quick movement in the wrong direction. Athletes are especially prone to this condition, as are older individuals, since, as the body ages, the cartilage throughout the body tends to wear down and become more easily torn.

What are the symptoms of a torn meniscus?

A torn meniscus can cause sharp, sudden pain and swelling. It also tends to create a feeling of instability (like the knee is no longer able to support the weight of the body) and a significant loss of range of motion.

These symptoms tend to persist until the damage is properly treated. Even though the injury can potentially heal on its own, it’s still important to consult with an experienced physician. An orthopedic specialist can provide recommendations for relieving pain, reducing swelling and safely returning to activity.

Torn meniscus treatment

The initial approach to torn meniscus treatment often involves a combination of the following:

  • Rest
  • Icing the knee
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Elevating the leg
  • Compression wraps
  • Activity modification (avoiding movements that put unnecessary stress on the knee joint)
  • Crutches
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the knee

If pain and instability persist after several weeks, arthroscopic surgery may be recommended. An experienced surgeon can remove damaged cartilage and repair a meniscus tear using a minimally invasive approach, without the need for open surgery.

At Advanced Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, patients can explore a variety of torn meniscus treatment options with a team of experienced knee injury specialists. We offer everything from physical therapy and custom braces to minimally invasive and traditional surgery. Our approach prioritizes the least invasive – yet most effective – therapies to help our patients recover as quickly and as fully as possible. To learn more, contact us today.