The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the human body. It is made up of a unique bundle of ligaments and tendons that work together to perform a wide range of motions. Because it experiences extreme wear and tear on a daily basis, the knee is particularly vulnerable to injury. The meniscus is a wedge-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a “shock absorber” between the thighbone and shinbone. The primary function of the meniscus is to cushion the joint and keep it stable.
A meniscus can tear in many different ways. Tears are noted by how they look, as well as where they occur. Common tears include:
- Bucket handle
- Mixed or complex
In athletes, meniscus tears often occur along with other knee injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament tears. Sudden tearing of the meniscus is also seen in athletes who play sports that require cutting and pivoting. Players may squat and twist the knee, causing a tear. A direct hit from a lateral force can also cause the meniscus to tear. In the elderly, cartilage weakens and becomes thin over time, resulting in degenerative meniscus tears due to aging. In this case, even minor trauma or twisting of the meniscus can cause a tear.
To get the answers to any questions you may have about meniscus tears or to set up a meeting with Dr. Ahluwalia, call us today at 310.430.1310. We look forward to hearing from you!
Symptoms of Meniscus Tear
When you injure your meniscus you are likely to experience several symptoms alerting you to a problem in your knee. Some patients report that they feel a “pop” when they tear their meniscus. Although you might still be able to walk, your knee will gradually become stiff and swollen in the days following the injury. If you have torn your meniscus, the most common symptoms you are likely to experience include:
- Stiffness and swelling
- Locking up of your knee
- Feeling like your knee has lost support
- Limited range of motion in the affected knee
These symptoms are made worse with pivoting, squatting, and vigorous activities. Without treatment, a piece of the meniscus may come loose and drift into the joint. This can cause your knee to slip, pop or lock.
Diagnosis of Meniscus Injury
After discussing your symptoms and medical history at his Beverly Hills practice, Dr. Ahluwalia will diagnose your knee injury with a look at your history and a physical exam. He will check for tenderness along the joint where the meniscus sits. One of the main tests used in the diagnosis of meniscus injuries is the McMurray test. Dr. Ahluwalia will bend your knee, then straighten and rotate it. If you have a torn meniscus, this movement will cause a clicking sound as well and discomfort. An MRI is also useful in confirming the diagnosis of a torn meniscus, but the most accurate test is diagnostic arthroscopy.
Arthroscopic Meniscus Surgery
Arthroscopic surgery is recommended for meniscus tears. During the procedure, a small camera is inserted through an incision near the knee. This lets the surgeon see inside the knee while also allowing the insertion of small surgical instruments. Other knee injuries, such as a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), may occur along with a torn meniscus. In this case, Dr. Ahluwalia will most likely repair your torn meniscus at the same time that the ACL surgery is done.
Why You Should Consider Arthroscopic Meniscus Surgery in Beverly Hills:
- Meniscus repair done by Dr. Ahluwalia is highly successful and can help you return to normal activity and exercise.
- Injured knees are more likely to develop arthritis. A successful meniscus repair slows the development of arthritic changes.
- Undergoing meniscus repair within 2 months of the injury is associated with higher rates of healing
- Bypassing surgical repair of your meniscus may cause it to tear further and become impossible to repair.
What to Expect Following Arthroscopic Meniscus Surgery
After your arthroscopic meniscus repair surgery your knee may be fitted with a cold, compression device, which helps keep the knee cool to minimize swelling and decrease pain. It is recommended that you take it easy during the first few days after surgery. Keep your leg elevated when sitting to minimize the swelling and speed up recovery. Leg exercises to increase blood flow may be discussed with you. Specific post-operative instructions will be reviewed prior to discharge. You will return for a follow up with Dr. Ahluwalia within 7-10 days. During this time he will gauge your recovery and make recommendations regarding further recovery options.
Don’t wait any longer to take care of knee pain due to a torn meniscus. Call Dr. Ahluwalia today!