The meniscus in your knee is a section of protective cartilage that can sometimes tear painfully. If you have a meniscus tear, board-certified orthopaedic surgeon Adam Bright, MD, of Schofield, Hand and Bright Orthopaedics in Sarasota, Florida, can help. Dr. Bright uses minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques to view, repair, or remove the meniscus with minimal tissue damage. For expert care of your torn meniscus, call the office or book an appointment online today.
A meniscus or meniscal tear is an injury to a piece of cartilage in your knee.
Each of your knees has a meniscus, which is a C-shaped pad of cartilage between your thigh and shin bones. The meniscus covers the end of your shin bone, helping to prevent friction, absorb shock, and minimize pressure imbalances in your knee.
A meniscus tear can occur if you twist your knee and put pressure on it at the same time, for example when pivoting on one leg or changing direction at speed.
Meniscus tears are more likely to happen as you age and tissue deterioration starts. As your meniscus gets weaker, the force necessary to tear the cartilage becomes less, until you can damage it just by twisting your knee when you stand up.
Common symptoms of a meniscus tear include:
The injuries that cause meniscus tears often result in other damage, such as sprained or ruptured ligaments.
The treatment Dr. Bright recommends for your meniscus tear varies depending on how badly damaged the tissue is and what part of the cartilage you tear.
The meniscus has two zones. On the outside third – the red zone – there's a healthy blood supply, so conservative treatments can be effective in healing the tear. On the inside of your meniscus, there's a white zone, which doesn't have a blood supply like the red zone. Therefore, an injury in the white zone can't heal by itself.
A red zone meniscus tear may heal using rest and activity modification. Anti-inflammatory medications can ease the pain and swelling, while regenerative medicine treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections work by encouraging new, healthy cell growth.
If your meniscus tear is in the white zone, or a severe red zone tear isn't responding to other measures, you might require surgery. Dr. Bright uses arthroscopy to perform the procedure, which allows him to make much smaller incisions than would be necessary for open surgery.
He inserts a slim arthroscope into your knee, and the instrument's camera sends back images to a screen that enable Dr. Bright to examine the meniscus in detail. He can then use other arthroscopic instruments to perform a meniscectomy, cutting away the torn tissue. In some patients, the meniscus tear can be repaired by using soft tissue anchors, which Dr. Bright also performs arthroscopically through tiny incisions.
If you have a painful meniscus tear, take advantage of Dr. Bright's expertise by calling Schofield, Hand and Bright Orthopaedics or booking an appointment online today.