A Torn Meniscus

Torn Meniscus You’re in your 50s and one day you were doing something seemingly harmless: getting up after sitting on the floor, subtly changing direction while catching a Frisbee, even pushing your lawnmower from a side hill. You feel an instant twinge on the front of your knee. It’s not sharp pain, but you feel it. You may have some slight swelling afterwards or you may not.

The next day you feel the spot when you’re climbing some stairs. And over the coming weeks it seems as if there could even be a clicking or very slight sensation of something catching lightly in the knee.

You may think you’ve only strained your patellar tendon, so you ice it and take it easy on the impact sports and activities. But over the next weeks and months nothing changes. Some days you don’t feel it; other days you feel it when you place the knee in different positions.

You don’t have a strain of the tendon; it’s likely you’ve torn your meniscus. At Urgent Orthopedic Specialists, Dr. Floyd and his team use arthroscopic techniques to address a torn meniscus.

What is a torn meniscus?

A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus. Those forces need to be pretty heavy to tear a meniscus in a young person, but it can happen with seemingly simple movements in the knees of older people.

Each of your knees has two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that provide cushioning between your shinbone and your thighbone. When the meniscus is torn it will cause pain, possible swelling, and stiffness or a feeling of slight instability when using the knee. It can feel as if there is a slight catching of the cartilage when you move your knee certain ways.

How do you know it’s torn?

When you come see Dr. Floyd, Dr. Rowland, or Dr. Liesman we’ll place your knee in certain positions and ask if that causes any pain. We’ll ask about actions you’ve been doing that seem to cause pain. We’ll usually have a good idea if it is a torn meniscus or not, but most insurance providers will require a MRI to verify damage.

Arthroscopy

If conservative treatments haven’t worked and if your knee is causing you to avoid certain activities, it may be time for surgery. In these procedures we invariably use arthroscopic methods, making for easy, fast recoveries. In younger patients we may be able to repair a torn meniscus and it may heal. In older patients it’s more likely the torn parts will need to be trimmed away.

Do you have any symptoms of a torn meniscus? Please call us at Urgent Orthopedic Specialists, (432) 520-3020, and let’s check out that knee.

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