The meniscus is a piece of cartilage in your knee joint that protects your bones from friction and shock and helps stabilize the joint. A meniscus tear occurs when you overstretch the cartilage.
The meniscus can tear in two, or might separate into several pieces. Sometimes fragments of your meniscus come away and migrate into the knee joint, which makes your knee lock up.
The types of meniscus tear include:
Sports injuries are a common cause of meniscus tears. Even if you're not active, you can still tear your meniscus if the cartilage deteriorates over time.
If your meniscus tears, you could be aware of a kind of popping feeling in your knee. Other symptoms include:
To begin with, meniscus tears aren't always painful, but the discomfort they cause is likely to increase as the tissues become increasingly inflamed.
The treatment your provider at Beaufort Orthopaedic Sports & Spine recommends for a meniscus tear depends on which part of the meniscus incurs the damage.
The meniscus has a large inner area called the white zone, and a smaller outer area called the red zone. The red zone is capable of healing itself because it has an adequate blood supply. However, the white zone gets insufficient blood to heal on its own.
With rest, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medication, small tears in the red zone can heal well. If the tear is large or complex, or it affects the white zone, you might require surgery.
The expert surgeons at Beaufort Orthopaedic Sports & Spine use minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques to repair most meniscus tears.
An arthroscope is a device that only requires a small incision, resulting in less damage to the surrounding muscles. The device relays images of your knee joint back to your surgeon, who uses specialized instruments that also fit through small incisions to operate on your meniscus.
Meniscus surgery typically involves repairing the cartilage using tiny dart-like devices. These darts stay in place while your knee heals, then break down naturally for your body to absorb.
If the meniscus is too badly damaged to repair, your provider might remove the affected section or take out the whole meniscus, according to the severity of the injury.
For effective solutions to knee pain and meniscus tears, call Beaufort Orthopaedic Sports & Spine today or book an appointment online.