Your knee joint is made up of two bones — the thigh or femur bone and the shin or tibia bone — cartilage, ligaments, tendons, the patella or kneecap, and the menisci. The menisci (plural for meniscus) are crescent-shaped dense fibrous structures within the knee joint that cushion the space between the bones. You can tear either of the two meniscal cartilage structures in your knee. It’s commonly referred to as “torn cartilage.” Meniscus tears can result from twisting the knee during sports, from an injury, or because of age-related deterioration.
See an orthopedist or sports medicine specialist at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals to receive treatment for meniscal tears in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV. Find a Doctor online or call (702) 616-4900 today.
What Causes Meniscal Tears?
Meniscus tears can be sudden or the result of wear and tear. Sudden tears usually occur as a result of participating in sports. In general, any activity that twists the knee joint can cause a torn meniscus. Contact forces, such as tackling, also can cause a sudden tear. Trauma, such as injury due to accident, can tear a meniscus.
Degenerative meniscal tears usually happen to older adults and are caused by the deterioration of the meniscal tissue. As the menisci age, they become less flexible. This makes them more prone to tearing when a person accidentally twists the knee while standing or walking.
Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus
If you tear a meniscus, you likely will experience sudden symptoms such as pain ranging from mild to severe, possible swelling, stiffness, or joint weakness. Many people hear a “pop” when the meniscus tears. The symptoms of a meniscus tear may start out mild — you may even be able to walk on the injured knee — but worsen over time. The sensation of a torn meniscus is described as the knee “giving out” when trying to walk on it.
Prevent & Treat Meniscal Tears at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
Meniscus tears can be difficult to prevent, since they can result from normal aging. Sudden, athletic tears also are hard to prevent unless you avoid participating in sports.
Treatment options for a meniscus tear depends on the severity of the injury. A mild tear may only require over-the-counter pain medication, ice, and rest. If the outer part of your meniscus is torn, it’s possible for it to heal on its own because it has a rich blood supply. More serious damage may require a minimally invasive procedure called knee arthroscopy, in which a surgeon uses small instruments to trim or remove parts of the damaged meniscus.
If you have surgery for a meniscus tear, you might need to wear a knee brace for several weeks and avoid bearing weight on the injured leg. After the meniscus has begun to heal, physical therapy can help you regain strength and improve the range of motion in your joint.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican orthopedists offer care for a torn cartilage or meniscus in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.