A torn meniscus is a painful condition that can be classified into one of two categories – acute or degenerative. An acute tear happens when the knee is bent and twisted while the leg is in a weight-bearing position, and this injury usually occurs during physical activity. A degenerative torn meniscus is more common in older individuals, as it occurs as a result of weakness and elasticity loss that typically accompanies the aging process. Symptoms may not be present for degenerative tears.
If you believe you may have a torn meniscus, it’s important to have the condition diagnosed by an orthopaedic surgeon. At Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine, our sports medicine specialist, Dr. Ira Guttentag, M.D., F.A.C.S., offers comprehensive care for both acute and degenerative torn menisci.
To diagnose your condition, Dr. Guttentag will:
- Learn about the history of your torn meniscus, which will help Dr. Guttentag determine if the symptoms indicate meniscal damage or a different condition altogether.
- Physically examine your knee by looking for any tenderness or swelling, especially when pressed on the injured side.
- Perform the McMurray test, in which he will apply pressure and move the knee from a straightened position to a bent position and then back to a straightened position to see which of these positions causes pain or catching.
- Request imaging tests, like an X-ray or MRI, to assess the amount of damage and provide a clear diagnosis of a torn meniscus.
Many small meniscus tears will heal on their own without the need for surgical intervention, only requiring a knee brace and temporary activity modification to relieve symptoms. However, more severe meniscal tears require surgical treatment. This is especially true if the symptoms last longer than three months, the ACL is also injured, a displaced tear causes the joint to lock, or the patient is a high-level athlete.
If you require surgery for a torn meniscus, you’ll be pleased to know that the procedures Dr. Guttentag performs are minimally invasive and arthroscopic. This increases your likelihood of having a quick recovery and spending minimal time in a hospital. Depending on the location and type of tear you have, you will either undergo a trephination/abrasion technique, partial resection, complete resection, meniscal repair, or meniscal replacement.
For more information on our approach to repairing a torn meniscus, contact Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine today to request an appointment with Dr. Guttentag.