The meniscus is the term for the two discs of soft cartilage that connect the thigh bone to the shin bone. The meniscus helps keep the knee stable and protect the bones from breakage by absorbing shock. Tears to the meniscus can occur through contact sports such as hockey or football, but as we age, the cartilage degenerates and this injury can be caused by simply lifting something heavy or moving the wrong way. Regardless of the cause of your injury, meniscus repair may be used to resolve it.
If your meniscus is torn, you might experience a popping sensation when the injury occurs, but you’ll usually still be able to walk on the affected leg. Over the next few days, pain and stiffness gradually increases. You also might notice stiffness, swelling, a locking sensation in the joint, or limited range of motion.
When a meniscus tear is minor, the injury may resolve itself through home remedies such as resting the affected leg, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and icing the knee to reduce swelling. Physical therapy may be prescribed to strengthen the tissue in this area and prevent further knee injury.
With more severe injuries to the meniscus, however, meniscus repair might be required to fix the tear. We can determine the extent of the injury through MRI imaging that allows visualization of the joints. Depending on the exact location and severity of the tear, various minimally-invasive procedures and techniques can be used. These procedures carry minimal risk. Following recovery instructions closely can reduce the risk for infections. We typically prescribe antibiotics to prevent injury and compression stockings to prevent blood clots. In most cases, physical therapy can help improve your mobility and increase the knee’s range of motion as you heal.
If you’re experiencing pain or stiffness in your knee after an injury, a torn meniscus could be the cause. We can diagnose the issue and recommend treatment options, such as meniscus repair, that will help you get back on your feet. Schedule a consultation at Mattalino Orthopaedics to learn more information about your treatment options. Our office is conveniently located in Phoenix, AZ. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more about meniscus repair!