Triple Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon located in Fayetteville and Bentonville, AR
Your knees are the largest joints in your body, which is appropriate given that they do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to your mobility and supporting your body. When an injury such as a meniscal tear strikes your knee, it has a serious impact on your daily routine, which is where the expertise of Dr. Mark W. Powell comes in. At his practice, Powell Orthopedics in Fayetteville and Bentonville, Arkansas, Dr. Powell diagnoses and treats meniscal tears, and gets you back on your feet again. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online.
Meniscus Tears Q & A
What is the meniscus?
Your knee is an incredibly complex joint that’s designed for two major tasks: mobility and support. Your meniscus plays a vital role in the support category. Each of your knees is made up of three bones:
- Your thigh bone, or femur
- Your shin bone, or tibia
- Your kneecap
Where your thighbone and shinbone meet, there are two wedge-shaped cartilage disks, called menisci, that act as shock absorbers between the two bones. Every time you take a step or jump, your menisci absorb the energy and prevent your bones from slamming together.
What causes the meniscus to tear?
Cartilage injuries such as a meniscus tear often happen for two reasons:
As you age, not only does the wear and tear on your meniscus add up, your cartilage also becomes more brittle. As your cartilage weakens, every strain on your meniscus carries the potential for damage.
Acute meniscal tears are often associated with sports, thanks to the sudden twisting, jumping, and pivoting that are often involved. A tear can occur when your meniscus is pushed beyond its limits, usually in a twisting or squatting motion, or as a result of a collision.
What are the symptoms of a meniscus tear?
A meniscus tear often brings on the following symptoms:
- Decreased range of motion
- A locking or catching in your knee
These symptoms don’t improve with time and usually become worse, which means you should see Dr. Powell as soon as possible.
How is a meniscus tear treated?
Once Dr. Powell diagnoses a meniscus tear, he sits down with you to review the treatments, which are either nonsurgical or surgical. If you want to try a nonsurgical option first, he recommends the RICE method, along with anti-inflammatory medications. Here’s what RICE involves:
Should your tear be severe, or you’re not responding to the treatment, Dr. Powell may recommend surgery to repair the tear. He performs the surgery arthroscopically which is a minimally-invasive procedure that requires only small incisions through which Dr. Powell inserts very tiny instruments to complete the repair.
After surgery, count on doing some physical therapy before you’re able to move about freely again.
If you suspect you may have a meniscus tear, prompt treatment is best. Call Powell Orthopedics or book an appointment online to get started.