Notes from a Meniscus Surgeon in San Francisco

The most common knee injury is a torn meniscus. It often happens suddenly during sports or other activities that cause a person to twist, rotate, bend, or lift very heavy objects. A knee injury doctor in San Francisco will frequently recommend surgical correction of a torn meniscus in conjunction with physical therapy.

Key Points

  •     It most often occurs in athletes.
  •     The presenting symptom is usually severe knee pain.
  •     Treatment depends on the severity of the tear.
  •     Surgery and physical therapy are typical treatments.

What Is a Torn Meniscus? 

The knee has two curved pieces of cartilage that cushions the area between the femur and the tibia and provide stability to the kneecap. They are called the menisci. A torn meniscus is an injury to either of them.

Causes and Risk Factors 

Sports injuries are the most common cause. 

Individuals with an increased risk include athletes, especially those that play contact sports, and dancers. 

Additionally, older adults have an increased risk due to age-related knee changes and degeneration. 

Those with previous knee injuries have a higher risk of re-injury. 

Performing any activity that causes the knee to bend or twist more than what occurs during normal daily living increases risk.

Common Symptoms

  •     Swelling and stiffness in the affected knee
  •     Pain in the knee
  •     Limited range of motion
  •     A sensation of the knee giving out

Diagnosis

A meniscus surgeon in San Francisco will likely start by reviewing the person’s medical history and symptoms, then examine the knee to check for swelling and tenderness along the joint line, while listening for a clicking sound that indicates a meniscus tear. 

To rule out other knee problems, a doctor will likely order an MRI to see if there is any damage to the cartilage or other soft tissues. X-rays may also be ordered to look for injuries to surrounding bones or to rule out conditions such as osteoarthritis.

Treatment

A doctor may recommend surgery if the tear is severe. There are several surgical treatments available including the following:

Knee arthroscopy is a procedure in which a doctor makes a small incision in the knee and inserts a camera to look for any damaged tissue. The doctor will then repair or remove the torn meniscus.

Partial meniscectomy is a procedure where the surgeon trims away a portion of the meniscus

Meniscus repair is a procedure in which the surgeon uses sutures to stitch together the torn portion of the meniscus.

Recovery

After surgery, a knee surgeon in San Francisco will advise the patient on how long to rest and when to seek physical therapy.

If the tear is properly treated and managed, most people can expect to make a full recovery, and athletes generally return to their pre-injury capabilities.

Are You Looking for a Knee Surgeon in San Francisco?

If you have injured your knee and would like to speak to a skilled knee doctor about your options, contact Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht for a consultation.