Not many people are aware of the menisci in their knees until they are injured. The menisci are C-shaped, flat discs of cartilage that rest between the shin- and thighbones on each side of the knee. These discs of cartilage have an important role in absorbing shock in the knee and preventing friction from wearing down the bones.
Unfortunately, the menisci are frequently torn in traumatic events like automobile accidents or sports injuries. The result is intense pain in the injured knee as well as difficulty in fully bending or straightening the knee.
Can a torn meniscus heal?
The short answer to this question is yes, but there are some details to keep in mind. First, not all torn menisci are the same. A meniscus tear can be small and minor, or it may be large and cause the cartilage to fold back on itself, which contributes to difficulty moving the knee.
Second, no single person is the same. Younger, stronger, more flexible people who have an injured meniscus will recover differently than someone who is older, less active, or has a history of knee injuries.
Treatments vary depending on factors like these. Some people can recover from a torn meniscus with some rest and gentle stretches and exercises. Others may need arthroscopic surgery.
Treating a torn meniscus with arthroscopic surgery
Orthopedic surgeons can perform a minimally invasive type of surgery known as arthroscopy to repair a torn meniscus. In this procedure, the surgeon inserts a tiny tube into the knee with a camera on it that allows them to see the operation area. Then, using tiny surgical instruments that fit through a small incision, they can repair the damaged portion of the meniscus.
This may include trimming away the injured pieces of cartilage, removing fragments of bone and cartilage, or folding the cartilage back in place so it can heal on its own.
Typically, you can go home the same day after arthroscopic surgery, but full recovery will take a few weeks. During this period, you’ll need some rehabilitation to help you recover, but you should be able to regain the use of your knee.
Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute today for torn meniscus treatment
Do you have pain and difficulty bending or straightening your knee after an accident? It’s possible you may have a torn meniscus. Let our team take a look at your knee to figure out what’s affecting it and how we can treat it. Contact us today for more information about a torn meniscus or to schedule an initial appointment.