Meniscus tears are a common type of knee injury, especially among athletes and other active people. While tears can be treated, many people worry about having pain afterward.
As a leading sports medicine practice in Boonton, Pompton Plains, and Jersey City, New Jersey, Jersey Integrative Health and Wellness offers individualized care for meniscus tears, including tears from sports and everyday activities. If you’ve torn your meniscus, here’s what you should know about available treatments and your risk of experiencing residual pain.
The meniscus is a crescent-shaped piece of cartilage that helps protect your knee joint by:
Each knee has two menisci — one on the inside of the joint and one on the outside.
While the menisci are resilient, they can still be damaged. Acute tears in the cartilage often happen from twisting or wrenching movements in the knee, especially during certain sports that require running, jumping, and pivoting.
As we age and cartilage wears down and weakens, degenerative tears can happen. Even something as simple as climbing stairs or turning your knee when standing up can cause a tear.
The severity of the tear can range from a mild, incomplete tear to a complete tear that extends all the way through the cartilage. Pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion are among the most common symptoms. You may also feel a clicking or locking sensation in the joint.
Meniscus tears often respond to conservative, nonsurgical treatment, including rest, ice, compression, and elevation (sometimes called RICE therapy). We may also recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the joint and support natural healing.
If the meniscus is badly damaged or the tear is accompanied by other knee injuries, surgery may be the best option for providing long-term pain relief and restoring normal knee function. We may also recommend surgery if the discomfort continues despite conservative treatment.
Surgery typically focuses on trimming the damaged portions of the meniscus or suturing the torn parts together. Our team uses minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery for faster healing and recovery.
Prompt and proper medical treatment is usually very effective in keeping knee pain at bay. But there are additional steps you can take to avoid pain following your treatment.
If you’re overweight, losing those extra pounds takes the extra strain off your knee joints, alleviating pressure on your menisci and helping with other causes of knee pain.
High-impact sports put a tremendous strain on your knees. Before beginning any high-impact activity after a meniscus tear, ask your doctor if your knees are healthy enough to withstand the strain.
Regular physical activity can help strengthen your leg muscles, providing extra support for your knees. Follow your doctor’s guidance regarding your activity level while your meniscus is still healing.
If physical therapy is part of your recovery plan, follow your therapist’s guidance, and complete all activities as prescribed. Therapy is a key tool in recovery after all sorts of knee injuries and can help prevent injuries in the future.
The best way to prevent pain after a meniscus tear is to seek medical treatment immediately. Delaying treatment can lead to other painful conditions, including osteoarthritis.
You should never ignore knee pain. To find out what’s causing your symptoms and how we can help your knees stay healthy, book an appointment online or over the phone at Jersey Integrative Health and Wellness today.