Torn Meniscus 101

When you lead an active lifestyle or play in different sports, either professionally, for your school, or even just for fun, accidents are bound to happen. Physical contact sports increase the likelihood of injury even more than a sport such as bicycling.

A torn meniscus is a common injury in basketball players. Both contact with other players as well as the pivoting movements made to avoid a foul and find a shot or someone to pass to require twisting and bending the knee.

A rubbery meniscus is located on each side of the knee. The femur, or the thigh bone, comes to meet the tibia, the leg bone, with the patella, which is the knee cap, the front of the knee. The meniscus is kind of like a shock pad between the femur and the tibia. Ligaments hold it all together.

The problem with the meniscus is it doesn't have a blood supply network throughout it, only where it is attached. A torn meniscus is basically a tear in your knee cartilage. What this means is, if it is torn, the tissue cannot repair itself. If it is torn badly enough, it will require the work of an orthopedic surgeon to fix it and get you on your feet again. Here is what to expect if you suspect you have a torn meniscus.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Torn Meniscus?

Pain and swelling are the primary symptoms. It will either hurt on the inside or the outside of the knee, not the knee cap. Often, the swelling won't be present until a few hours later or even the next day after inuring it. The pain will be worse if you try to squat down or pivot and twist, common body positions for a basketball player.

The pain scale may range from mild to severe; it just depends on where the tear is and how bad it is. However, if the knee is locked, meaning it cannot be bent at all, emergency medical care must be sought immediately. This means the ligament is getting caught up and is trapped. It's not life-threatening, but it will require surgical repair.

What Is The Treatment For A Torn Meniscus?

Depending on the severity and location of the tear, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend removal or repair of the meniscus via arthroscopic surgery. This is minimally invasive and is done on an outpatient basis. Healing time will require about 4-6 weeks of reduced activity as well as quadriceps strengthening exercises. For more information, talk to a company like El Camino Center for Sports Medicine‚Äč.