Meniscal Tear Treatment in Portland, OR
By Sports Medicine Oregon
Knee injuries are exceptionally common in sports, with athletes playing soccer, basketball, and football all susceptible to damaging the knee. Skiers often damage the knee's components on the slopes through improper foot positioning. One of the most common diagnoses for knee pain, known as a meniscal tear, affects the knee's protective cartilage, and causes immobility and can eventually lead to osteoarthritis, a more serious musculoskeletal condition.
Meniscus injuries can be treated conservatively or surgically, depending on the patient's unique case. When surgery is indicated, a minimally invasive approach known as knee arthroscopy can potentially provide patients with improved results beyond traditional open surgery.
Anatomy of the Knee
The knee is the largest joint in the body, comprised of three bones: the femur (thighbone), the tibia (shinbone), and the patella (kneecap). The end of the femur meets the end of the tibia to form a hinge joint, swinging through its range of motion on a single axis. The patella attaches to the front of the main hinge joint to provide protection for the knee. Additionally, the patella allows the knee to extend its ability to move the leg by acting as a lever for leg muscles.
Resting between the femur and the tibia are two pieces of cartilage known as the menisci. These jelly-like sacs provide shock absorption for the knee's bones when carrying the bulk of the body's weight. The menisci provide a smooth gliding surface for the bones as the tibia extends under the femur, allowing for pain-free, frictionless movement. The menisci are also vital in balancing the body's weight across the knee.
Common Sports Injuries Causing Meniscal Tears
In sports that involve high intensity running or substantial use of the lower body, damage to the meniscus is very common. Having a foot planted and twisting the upper leg can cause the meniscus to stretch beyond its means, causing a tear. Contact sports, such as football, can cause meniscus tears when a player is struck and excessive force is applied to the knee. In winter sports, such as skiing, athletes can damage the meniscus by landing with the ski angled improperly, causing the foot to twist.
Symptoms of Meniscal Tear
Patients sustaining meniscal tears will experience pain, discomfort, and stiffness in the knee joint. Depending on the severity of the tear, pain can range from moderate to intense, chronic pain, paired with swelling, instability, and limited range of motion.
Meniscal Tear Treatment
Treatment options for meniscal tears will vary depending on the severity of the case. Small tears may not require surgery, and may instead be best managed through conservative solutions such as physical therapy and rehabilitation, NSAID pain medication. If these treatments are ineffective, the tear may be more severe, and may require surgical intervention to alleviate symptoms. As always, it is best to speak to an orthopaedic surgeon before selecting a treatment option.
Knee Arthroscopy for Meniscal Tears
When surgery is indicated, minimally invasive means are favored. One such approach, known as knee arthroscopy, utilizes small incisions and innovative techniques to restore the knee's function and alleviate pain at a more rapid pace in comparison to traditional open surgery. By utilizing fiber-optic technology, the surgeon can remove torn pieces of cartilage floating in the compartment and repair the meniscus without making large incisions.
Meniscal Tear Experts in Portland, OR
While not every meniscus injury will require surgical intervention, it is best to see an orthopaedic surgeon who can best evaluate the symptoms and determine the root of the issue. With seven orthopaedic surgeons specializing in sports medicine and athletic injuries, the orthopaedic doctors at Sports Medicine Oregon can determine the safest treatment option available. Schedule an appointment at one of the clinic’s three locations, conveniently located in Tigard, Wilsonville, and Downtown Portland, OR.