Your knees can withstand an immense amount of stress. But all that stress makes your knees prone to injuries, like a meniscus tear.
Knee injuries can make routine tasks like standing and walking challenging. And if you’re an athlete, it can put you on the bench for months.
At MidJersey Orthopaedics in Flemington, Bridgewater, and Washington, New Jersey, our skilled orthopaedic surgeons know firsthand how knee injuries affect daily life.
The truth is, anyone can tear their meniscus. Here, we want to tell you about this type of knee injury, explain your treatment options, and help you regain stability.
About your meniscus tear
Your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) form the knee joint. These bones are separated by two C-shaped pieces of cartilage called menisci. Your menisci provide a cushion between the bones and work as shock absorbers.
Any break in the disc-like cartilage is a meniscus tear. We label tears based on where they occur and how they look. Types of meniscus tears include:
- Radial tear: starts in the center of the disc and extends outward
- Horizontal tear: tear that’s parallel to the surface of the cartilage
- Bucket handle tear: a flap-like tear that looks like a bucket handle
Athletes are prone to these injuries, especially those who play contact sports. But degenerative changes in the knee cartilage also make you prone to meniscus tears. In fact, simple movements, like kneeling or squatting, can cause the injury.
Treating your meniscus tear
Treatment for a meniscus tear depends on the severity and location of the tear, your age, and your medical history. The good news is that most meniscus tears can heal independently without surgery.
Nonsurgical treatments include:
- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Joint injections
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
You may need surgery if you continue to have pain after medical interventions. Our skilled surgeons customize plans to create the best outcomes, using minimally invasive techniques when possible. During surgery, we may remove or repair the cartilage's damaged portion.
Regaining knee stability
The length of your recovery depends on the severity of your injury and whether you had surgery. Generally, it can take three or more months to regain stability following a meniscus tear.
We start with a knee brace, providing extra support while the injury heals. Then, we send you to physical therapy for an exercise program that strengthens the supportive muscles, improves range of motion, and stabilizes the knee. Your physical therapy plan includes at-home exercises that help you maintain the gains you make during physical therapy.
It’s essential to follow our team’s instructions carefully and attend all follow-up appointments. Whether you’re an athlete, a busy parent, or someone who wants to regain mobility, a complete recovery helps you achieve your goals.
A meniscus tear can halt your activities, but you can regain stability with the right plan. We provide all the services you need to help heal your meniscus tear. Call the office nearest you today or request an appointment online.