orthopedics

Your Knee Pain May Be a Torn Meniscus

Do you have swelling and pain in your knee?  Do you struggle moving around or hear grinding noises in your knee?  Does it feel as though something isn’t quite right?

Our knees take on a big job getting us around from one place to the next, year after year.  If you’re answering yes to the questions above, you may have more than just normal wear and tear on your knees.  You may be suffering from a torn meniscus.

Menisci are c-shaped discs in the knee joint that provide cushion; each knee has two, one on the outer edge and one on the inner.  Menisci help you evenly distribute your weight.

Causes of a torn meniscus

Just like the rest of our body, a meniscus will likely become weaker as we age; however, a tear can happen at any age or stage of life—from young, active children to elderly adults.  Tears can be caused by lifting something heavy, an odd twist or turn, or an abnormal athletic movement.

Symptoms of a torn meniscus

Pain and swelling are one of the first signs of a torn meniscus.  This is often followed by abnormal stiffness.  In less severe tears, your symptoms may subside and you may ultimately forget about the original injury.  But if you’ve severely torn your meniscus, you won’t forget the injury any time soon.  Pieces of the torn meniscus can move into the joint space, which then creates the grinding noise.  In addition, you may not be able to straighten your knee or fully rely on your knee for normal movements.

Treatment option for meniscus tear

If you leave your torn meniscus untreated, you may be creating long-term problems for yourself, as this can lead to early onset osteoarthritis.  Happily, a torn meniscus does not always mean that you need surgery.  Your Signature Medical Group doctor can create a customized, conservative treatment plan for you, at times including physical therapy and rest.

For more serious tears, you may need surgical repair.  Knee arthroscopy is one solution.  Arthroscopy positions a miniature camera through a small incision in the knee, which allows your Signature orthopedic surgeon to have a clear view of your torn meniscus.  Then, your Signature Medical Group doctor in St. Louis or Kansas City can trim or repair the tear using miniature surgical tools. Arthroscopy makes the recovery time much shorter than open-knee procedures and restores you to your highest possible quality of life.  Call us or request an appointment online today.