Many different injuries and illnesses can be responsible for acute or chronic knee pain. A torn knee meniscus is one of these injuries. There are two menisci in each knee, which are rubbery discs that help to stabilize the joints when intact.
Torn meniscus knee injuries become increasingly more common with age. Tearing the knee medial meniscus can result in a minor, moderate or relatively severe injury, depending on how serious the tear is. Younger people usually experience torn meniscus knee injuries when they pivot or turn rapidly, but these injuries can happen at any time in older people, who have more fragile menisci.
The knee pain meniscus injuries causes can be of varying severities. Minor tears usually result in swelling and some stiffness that goes away in a few days. Moderate tears take longer to heal, but the immediate pain and swelling usually goes away after a few weeks. However, the pain and stiffness of the joint caused by moderate tears may reoccur sporadically for many years if the knee meniscus injury is not treated.
Severe tears can separate pieces of the meniscus and allow them to move into the joint. This can cause problems with the function of the knee, such as failure to bear weight or an inability to straighten the leg. The joint may also pop, catch or even lock up due to severe tears.
Surgery is the treatment of choice for moderate and severe injuries of the knee medial meniscus. The goal of the surgery is to repair the tear and remove any pieces of the meniscus that have been torn totally away. Not all knee pain meniscus injuries cause can be cured by surgery, and some tears are easier to repair than others.
When a doctor believes that a patient has a torn meniscus, they will either recommend ice and rest or further treatment. Treatment usually involves meeting with an orthopedic surgeon for further analysis of the injury. An experienced orthopedic surgeon is the best person to determine whether the tear is likely to respond well to surgery.
Our knee pain doctors will help you determine the best course of action for your problematic meniscus. Specializing allows doctors to keep up with all of the latest information in the appropriate part of the medical field. Working with physicians like ours, who have extensive experience with knee problems, ensures that you will receive the most effective treatment possible.