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Do You Need Orthopedic Care For A Torn Meniscus?

A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries treated by orthopedic services. While seen more commonly in athletes, it is a condition that can be experienced by anyone and at any age. You can tear your meniscus by stepping wrong and twisting your knee. But what can you do if you damage your meniscus, and when do you need orthopedic care? Read on for some advice. 

How Do You Know If You Have A Torn Meniscus?

Your meniscus is a small c-shaped piece of cartilage in your knee that absorbs impact between your two leg bones. Each knee has two menisci. One sits on the inside of the knee (medial), and the other sits on the outside of your knee (lateral). 

Tears usually occur when a person twists or turns their upper leg with their knee bent after planting their foot. Kneeling wrong or heavy lifting can also cause a tear. While the signs and symptoms of a tear can vary, some of these include the following:

  • Swelling or stiffness
  • Pain when twisting or rotating the knee
  • Inability to bear weight on the knee
  • Difficulty fully extending or bending the knee
  • Catching or locking of the joint

Sometimes these symptoms are ongoing and other times, they come and go. The only way to know if you have a torn meniscus is to visit an orthopedist. Your doctor will examine your knee, order x-rays, and possibly an MRI to confirm their diagnosis.

What Can You Do For A Torn Meniscus?

Small tears in your meniscus will heal with time. Most healthcare providers recommend you rest, ice, compress, and elevate (RICE) your knee for a few days and continue taking it easy for a few weeks.

They will advise you to avoid any activity that aggravates or irritates your condition. You can apply ice packs several times daily to reduce swelling and support the knee with some type of brace until your knee heals. You may also take over-the-counter pain medications to assist with the discomfort.

What Type of Orthopedic Services Do You Need For A Torn Meniscus?

If you have a more severe tear, your orthopedist may recommend a steroid injection to your knee. Corticosteroids injected into the joint will help reduce the swelling and inflammation and help strengthen the knee.

Most people see almost instantaneous results from these injections, but you must remember that you still have a tear that needs time to heal. If the injections do not bring relief, or you have a more severe tear, you may need an arthroscopy or surgery to repair or trim your meniscus.