Young athletes participating in contact sports like soccer, football, volleyball, and hockey are more prone to certain injuries like a meniscus tear. With a meniscus tear, there may be swelling and pain in the knee, a popping sensation during the injury, difficulty bending and straightening the leg, and a tendency for the knee to get stuck or locked up. This injury is painful and debilitating as the meniscus is the primary shock absorber located between the thigh bone and shinbone. Usually, the tear is the result of a sudden twisting motion.
Often a low-grade meniscus tear can heal without surgery. Rest and avoiding putting weight on the injury is crucial for healing. Icing the injury and using an electric bandage, straps, or compression sleeves can help control swelling. Where there is a more severe tear in the meniscus, a repair surgery may be necessary. Several factors are considered when looking into a surgical repair, as the tear's location, the patient's age, and the likelihood of the injury healing on its own is taken into account.
Arthroscopic surgery is typically performed for a meniscal tear. The incision and its size will be determined by the surgeon based on the patient's condition, the tear(s) location, and the surgeon's preference. Arthroscopy for meniscal tears is a technically demanding procedure performed by an experienced orthopedic surgeon in a medical center accustomed to performing arthroscopy. In a situation involving a young person with a meniscus tear, the surgeon should be well-versed in performing the procedure on a growing child's skeletally immature body with smaller joint spaces and pristine cartilage surfaces.
The meniscus plays a significant role in the human knee's function; however, once it's torn and unable to be repaired, many of the beneficial aspects of that structure are lost. If you think you have suffered a meniscus tear or other sports-related injuries, call Dr. Ronak Patel, sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon, at (630) 929-2249 or visit www.drronakpatel.com.
Dr. Ronak Patel is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon offering a full range of care for all problems of the knee and shoulder with a special interest in complex knee disorders.