Meniscus Tear

Meniscus Tear Treatment and Management

What is a Meniscus Tear?

Meniscal tears are often referred to as cartilage tears, and are one of the most common injuries in the knee. Each knee has two c-shaped, tough, rubbery menisci.  They are located between the shinbone and thigh bone. One meniscus sits on the inside of the knee joint and is referred to as the medial meniscus.  The other meniscus rests on the outer part and is referred to as the lateral meniscus.  The menisci act as shock absorbers and help equally distribute body weight across the knee joint.  Without the menisci the knee joint would wear down unevenly.

Meniscus Tear Knee Pain Symptoms

The symptoms of a torn meniscus vary depending on the size and location of the tear.  The most common symptoms are the following:

  • Knee Pain
  • Swelling in the Knee
  • Catching or locking of the knee joint
  • Range of motion of the knee may be limited

Cause of Meniscus Tears in the Knee 

  • Knee Injury– This usually occurs if there is sudden twisting or turning of the foot while it is planted and the knee is bent.  Meniscal tears can also occur with heavy lifting, squatting, or in contact sports.
  • Degenerative or Arthritic Knees– A meniscal tear may occur in a person over 40 who has dry, thin or weak cartilage.  As the cartilage weakens it becomes more brittle and can easily tear.  It is not uncommon for an individual with arthritis or degenerative knee joints to tear meniscus simply by getting up from a chair or climbing the stairs.

Meniscus Tear Knee Pain Treatment Options

The treatment for a meniscus tear is determined by the size, location of the tear, and the activity level of the patient.  Some people respond well to non-invasive treatments while others have to have surgery.  The location of the meniscus tear is one of the most important factors because that will determine how well the tear will heal.

  • Outer Edge (Red Zone)

The outer one third of the meniscus has its own blood supply. Tears in this area tend to heal well. Small and moderate sized tears tend to respond well to non- invasive treatment options.  For example, cold laser therapy is a possible treatment to help stimulate the healing and repair process by increasing and stimulating blood flow and nutrients to the injured area.

  • Inner Meniscus (White Zone)

The inner two thirds of the meniscus lacks its own blood supply, so it does not heal.  Even arthroscopic surgery, which is often suggested, may not work well due to the lack of healing ability in this part of the meniscus.  Recovery may be difficult especially for older patients.


Additional Reading:

Why Choose Dr. Schnee, D.C. for Her Cold Laser Treatment for Meniscus Tears?  

Cold Laser Therapy & Meniscus Tear Knee Pain Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

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