The meniscus is a small pad that lies between the bones of the knee and acts like a stabilizing cushion. Each knee joint has two menisci, one that cushions the outside of the knee joint and one that cushions the inside of the knee joint (the medial meniscus and the lateral meniscus). The meniscus is shaped like a "c" and has a rubbery consistency. This allows it to act as a cushion, preventing the bones of the knee joint from rubbing or slamming together as a person walks, runs, or pivots. The meniscus structure also helps stabilize the joint. A meniscus is incredibly strong and must survive the many years of walking, running and jumping that the knee supports. Because the knee supports at least the entire weight of the body during activity, there are occasions when the meniscus can become damaged or torn.
The severity and location of the tear determine how the surgeon may recommend treating the meniscal tear. At Active Orthopaedics P.C., the surgeon may repair or remove the meniscus through a surgical procedure. When the tear isn’t serious, the surgeon may recommend resting the joint, applying ice to reduce swelling, and stabilizing the knee with a bandage or brace. Sometimes an injection of an anti-inflammatory is needed. Physical therapy is a common treatment for a torn meniscus no matter what other options are considered. Whether the meniscus is allowed to heal on its own or if surgery is performed, an important part of the healing process is regaining strength in the leg muscles which accomplished through regular exercise and physical therapy as soon as the surgeon clears the patient to begin exercising.
A tear in the meniscus may take several weeks to months to heal. Although the meniscus isn’t a bone, it is made up of extremely dense connective tissues that have very little direct blood flow. Joint injuries need both oxygen and nutrients to heal, and both are supplied by the flow of blood. While blood flow to the knee can help heal bone and muscular structures quickly after the injury, there are few blood vessels associated with the meniscus. Maintaining blood flow to the area through home exercises and physical therapy can help keep the other tissues strong and healthy by providing them with the nutrients they need. Strong and healthy surrounding tissues will help support the meniscus as it heals.
At Active Orthopaedics, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
"Dr. Carlson was courteous and practical, and ready to propose options. Despite the late Friday hour, he also spent extra time with me to discuss about other concerns."
"I'm walking better than I have in months after my knee surgery. I'd definitely see Dr. Kaplan again should the need arise."