Meniscal Tear: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Ridgewood Area Patients

Everything You Need to Know About a Meniscal Tear and How to Treat It

The moment an injury strikes on the court, field, trail, or rink, you’ll want to be prepared.

Understanding how your body works when you exercise and which sports injuries you are especially susceptible to can help you stay healthy in the long run. For example, if your sport involves running or jumping, knowing how your knees function will allow you to properly protect them. In particular, a meniscal tear can result from playing sports. A Sports Medicine specialist from Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can explain this injury and provide meniscal tear treatment near Ridgewood, New Jersey.

What Is a Meniscal Tear?

The meniscus in your knee is made of fibrocartilage. This material protects cartilage in the joint from wearing out, which can lead to arthritis. In addition to guarding cartilage, the meniscus stabilizes the knee joint by connecting the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (leg bone).

Due to its strong material, the meniscus commonly becomes damaged during abrupt movements. Either a sudden knee twist or squat during a sports game or exercise can cause a tear. Degenerative meniscal tears may occur in older patients who have weakened meniscuses and cartilage.

Meniscal tear symptoms vary between patients. Typically, a meniscal tear that forms during exercise will result in swelling. Athletic patients may actually feel or hear a “pop” as the tear manifests. Sometimes, the knee locks in place, preventing essential movements such as straightening the leg and bending the knee. Some cases of meniscal tears, particularly those in older patients, do not include any symptoms at all. This is general the case if the patient has a low activity level.

What Does Meniscal Tear Treatment Near Ridgewood Entail?

The Sports Medicine doctors at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute understand that each meniscal tear we see varies in severity and location. As a result, each meniscal tear treatment plan will be a little bit different.

The meniscus is comprised of two parts: a “red” zone and a “white” zone. This distinction indicates which part of the meniscus has a rich blood supply. Tears that form in the “red” zone may heal on their own or with surgery. Contrarily, a tear in the “white” zone” cannot heal due to the lack of blood. Without nutrients from blood to support the healing process, this meniscal tear location will need to be trimmed and removed.

A tear to the outer edge of your meniscus, where there is a blood supply, typically only requires non-operative treatments. While treatment is individualized based on the patient’s age, medical history, and other factors, physicians generally recommend the R.I.C.E. method for new injuries.

  • Rest and avoid activities that cause you more knee pain.

  • Ice for 20 minutes at a time, a few times each day to reduce swelling.

  • Compress your knee by wearing an elastic bandage.

  • Elevate your leg while resting.

Meniscal tear surgery includes either removing part of the damaged fibrocartilage or repairing the tear. A surgeon will utilize an arthroscopic technique to view the knee joint and determine whether to repair or remove. Surgeons always attempt to repair the tear first, if possible.

Why Rothman Orthopaedic Institute?

We know the only thing that pains an athlete more than an injury is taking a break from enjoying the sport or activity they love. While patients with meniscal tears often return to their regular activities after treatment, recovery does take some time. Our Sports Medicine specialists can show you exactly how to care for your knee injury so you can get better faster.

Rothman Orthopaedic Institute is considered a world leader in providing orthopaedic care. We set standards in medical research, teaching, and patient care. Plus, our Sports Medicine team performs 10,000 sports surgeries per year and evaluates 80,000 athletes of all levels. In other words, we have the expertise you need for your injury.

For information on meniscal tear treatment near Ridgewood, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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