Torn Meniscus Symptoms
An indication that you are in need of a meniscus evaluation in San Antonio, TX is that you might have experienced a “popping” sensation in your knee or pain on the inside or the outside of your knee. Older people can injure the meniscus without any trauma as the cartilage weakens and wears thin over time. Football players and others in contact sports may tear the meniscus by twisting the knee, pivoting, cutting, or decelerating. Most people can still walk on the injured knee and many athletes keep playing. The symptoms may include;
- Stiffness and swelling or locking up
- Pain and tenderness in the joint line
- Collection of fluid(“water on the knee”)
Without treatment, a fragment of the meniscus may loosen and drift into the joint, causing it to slip, pop or lock. Your knee may get stuck, often at a 45-degree angle, until you manually move or otherwise manipulate it. If you think you have a meniscus tear, see your Board Certified Orthopedic Doctor right away for diagnosis and individualized treatment.
Torn Meniscus Treatment Options
There are two different types of treatments:
Conservative Meniscus Tear Treatment
Conservative treatment at Sports, Occupational, and Knee Surgery follows the basic RICE formula: rest, ice, and elevation, combined with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. If your knee is stable and does not lock, this may be all you need. Blood vessels feed the outer edges of the meniscus, giving that part the potential to heal on its own. Small tears on the outer edges often heal themselves with rest.
Surgical Meniscectomy is an option if your knee does not heal on its own and your knee becomes painful, stiff, or locked. Depending on the type of tear, your age, and other factors, Dr. Peter Holmes may use an arthroscope to trim off damaged pieces of the meniscus cartilage. You are home several hours after surgery. It is not unusual for patients to go back to work or school after arthroscopic surgery within a few days. A specific activity plan and rehabilitation will be suggested to speed your recovery and prevent future joint malfunction.
Access Sports, Occupational, and Knee Surgery’s 3D animation library to see how a meniscus repair works.
Our staff at Sports, Occupational, and Knee Surgery will follow through with each patient until they reach full recovery. . We hope to be your practice of choice when needing a meniscus treatment in San Antonio, TX.
What is the difference between surgical repair and removal of the meniscus?
A meniscus tear is irreparable- 99% of the time. Meniscus surgery is to remove the part that is torn, leaving as much as possible intact.
How long is a full meniscus tear recovery?
Meniscus recovery depends entirely on the individual patient. Generally, if it is “repaired” they are on crutches 4-6 weeks. If it is a routine removal of the torn meniscus, they are on crutches 4-6 hours and then full weight-bearing.
Is a torn meniscus associated with other injuries?
It all depends on the cause of the meniscus tear. But yes usually meniscal tears are associated with some degree of joint damage whether caused by injury or aging.
How are meniscal tears diagnosed?
The diagnosis is based on a 99% history of the patient plus an exam in the office. An MRI seldom changes the diagnosis.
What are the long term success rates for meniscal surgery?
The success rate depends on the overall condition of the joint.
Want to read more on meniscal tears and repair? Visit Sports, Occupational, & Knee Surgery’s blog!
How common are torn meniscus injuries?
Meniscus tears are among the most common knee injuries. Athletes, particularly those who play contact sports, are at risk for meniscus tears. When people talk about torn cartilage in the knee, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus. Any activity causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.
How soon can I be seen following my injury?
There isn’t a timeframe to wait for swelling to resolve. This is the case with a torn knee ligament. If your meniscus tear is minor, the swelling and stiffness should begin to improve, and it’s not necessary to see a doctor. But when you have a more serious tear, it can take 2-3 days for the swelling to increase along with the pain. This is the time to come see Dr. Holmes at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery to have him see what’s going on with your injured knee.
How can I prepare for treatment after a meniscus tear?
Dr. Holmes follows conservative treatment options in most of these injuries, the exception being if the patient’s knee is locking. With small tears on the outer edges, these methods can allow the cartilage to heal. Unfortunately, the inner two-thirds of the meniscus lacks a significant blood supply. Without nutrients from blood, tears in this section cannot heal, and surgery will likely be necessary.
Dr. Holmes can use arthroscopic methods in most cases, trimming away the damaged pieces of cartilage so they no longer catch on adjacent structures. Knee arthroscopy is one of the most performed surgical procedures.
Prior to surgery, you’ll prepare as you would for any surgery. You’ll need to stop taking blood thinning medication, aspirin, anti-inflammatories, and most herbal supplements for one week before your procedure. If you smoke, it’s wise to stop for two weeks before and after your procedure. That’s all the physical preparation you’ll need. We’ll give you instructions on fasting prior to the procedure.
You’ll want to prepare your recovery area, as you’ll need to be off your feet for most of the time for at least a few days. The length of this period depends on the repairs Dr. Holmes has made. Minor arthroscopy can require only a short recovery period.
What will recovery be like after meniscus surgery?
Following your surgery, you’ll have an initial recovery time of up to two weeks. Most patients will be in either a knee brace or on crutches. Recovery will include physical therapy in three phases. The first phase has the goal of regaining control of your leg muscles and weaning yourself off your crutches. The second phase has the goal of regaining full knee motion and strength. The last phase is returning to normal activity.
How long does it take to recover and heal after knee arthroscopy for a torn meniscus?
There is variability here depending upon how Dr. Holmes addressed your meniscus damage. If he simply shaved away some torn pieces of cartilage, that will be an easier recovery than if he sutured a tear back together.
Most patients can expect their recovery and healing to take about one month. But this can extend with larger repairs to up to three months.
Can I have another meniscus tear even after surgery?
These repairs performed by Dr. Holmes repair only the damaged location. Whether he removes torn fragments or whether he sutures a tear back together, he only addresses the area of the injury. That doesn’t protect the other areas of the meniscus. You can have another tear or other damage in the future.
Is it possible to prevent meniscus tears?
It’s not possible to know when you may tear your meniscus. Obviously, avoiding sports such as football, tennis, soccer, and basketball would be preventative, but those sports also keep you healthier. Knee braces can help to prevent your knee from pivoting to the degree the meniscus tears.
There are various exercises that you can do to strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings to strengthen bad knees. Our team at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery can provide you with a list of great exercises to help strengthen your knees and the surrounding muscles.
Call Dr. Holmes For Meniscus Tear Treatment In San Antonio, TX!
A healthy and happy body is only a click or a call away. Call Sports, Occupational, and Knee Surgery today for a meniscus repair consultation at (210) 696-9000 at either our San Antonio or Schertz location.