A meniscal tear is one of the most common injuries in the knee and can impact people of all ages. Meniscus serves as a cushioning between the thigh bone and shin bone and helps to stabilize your knee. The meniscus is a somewhat flexible and resistant piece of cartilage that can be prone to injury. It can be caused by a direct blow, twisting, or even normal wear and tear. Regardless of how it happens, it can cause extreme pain, swelling, stiffness, and overall knee instability. Fortunately, depending on the extent of the injury, there are typically several treatment options available to help you get back doing what you love most. In this blog, we will explore the different treatment options for meniscal tears.
Non-surgical treatment options are typically prescribed for minor or partial meniscal tears. Your Central Florida Bone & Joint Institute orthopedic surgeon may recommend conservative treatments, such as RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), physical therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – like Ibuprofen to help reduce pain and inflammation. Conservative treatments can aid in healing a partial tear and help to prevent further knee instabilities.
Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that can help fix a tear or remove an injured meniscus completely. During the surgery, a small incision is made on the knee, and an arthroscope- a tube with a camera and a light- is inserted to examine the inside of the knee to identify where the damage or tear occurred. Surgical procedure for meniscal tears is more common for people with larger or complete meniscal tears. After arthroscopic surgery, you may need to engage in physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the knee.
For complete meniscal tears or those tears that cannot be repaired, meniscal replacement surgery is helpful. Meniscus can be replaced by cadaver arteries or by synthetic materials. The procedure is similar to a partial knee replacement surgery. Your surgeon may recommend this procedure to help people with advanced arthritis or those who may require an alternative to total knee replacement surgery.
In addition to any of the procedures, rehabilitation, and physical exercise are significant parts of recovery. Patients who engage in physical therapy tend to have better outcomes than those who don't. Physical therapy can help restore knee function, promote strength, and increase flexibility. Rehabilitation will also help you to reduce the chances of re-injury.
Minor meniscal tears do not usually require a brace, but if you have a significant or complete tear, it could be beneficial to wear a brace. Bracing can help provide additional support, stability, and reduce pain. Braces may also help reduce the chance of a future knee injury.
In conclusion, treatment options for meniscal tears depend entirely on the extent of the injury. For partial meniscus tears, conservative methods are usually the first option to reduce pain and inflammation, promote healing, physical therapy, and exercise, while severe conditions will require surgery. Your Central Florida Bone & Joint Institute orthopedic surgeon can help guide you through the best solution for your specific situation. With the proper diagnostic evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation strategies, you can regain a pain-free, fuller range of movement, and return to an active life. If you're looking for an orthopedic surgeon in Deltona, FL, contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.