Surgery For a Torn Meniscus: What Are My Options?

The knee is the largest joint in your body.  It’s also integral to movement, which is a large reason why it is so vulnerable to injury. One of the most common knee injuries, especially in athletes, is the development of a torn meniscus. This injury can make it difficult to move your knee, stopping athletes from continuing to participate in sports and stopping an active lifestyle altogether. This also means that it’s important to get treatment for this condition before it develops complications. However, surgery is a commonly recommended treatment option for meniscus tears. If you’re been diagnosed with or think you may have a torn meniscus, you may be wondering what your options are other than surgery for a torn meniscus. In this article, we’ll discuss what these options are.

Meniscus Tears: The Basics

What exactly is a torn meniscus and what are the symptoms of this condition?

The menisci are two c-shaped pieces of cartilage that sit between the tibia and femur. Their purpose is to cushion the shinbone and thighbone from the stress of body weight during activity. 

When activities require the knee to be forcefully rotated or twisted, especially while carrying your full body weight, either of the menisci can develop a tear. The most common movement leading to meniscus tears is twisting of the upper leg while the foot is planted and the knee is bent.

Some sports that most commonly require this kind of motion, leading to the most common incidence of meniscus tears include:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Wrestling
  • Skiing
  • Baseball
  • Soccer 

If you believe that you have a torn meniscus, it’s best to see a sports medicine doctor or your primary care provider for a diagnosis. However, we’ll list some common symptoms here to help you get a better understanding of meniscus tears and how this condition affects the knee.

When a meniscus tear develops, you won’t always immediately feel pain related to it. It can actually take up to 24 hours or more before pain and swelling begin, depending on the size of the tear. Smaller tears generally take more time before symptoms begin to show. These symptoms include:

  • Pain, swelling, and stiffness.
  • A “stiff” or “locked” feeling in your knee and difficulty fully extending it.
  • A popping sensation during movement.
  • Pain when twisting or rotating your knee.
  • Feeling your knee give way.
  • Pain on the inner, outer, or back portion of your knee joint.
  • Limping due to pain or difficulty using the knee.

Can a Torn Meniscus be Treated Without Surgery?

At the Center for Sports Medicine and Wellness, we focus on providing non-operative or minimally invasive treatment for conditions such as a torn meniscus. We believe that these treatment options provide the best opportunity for our patients to get back to sports, their active lifestyles, and work with minimal recovery time and few to no limits on mobility after fully healing.

With that in mind, it’s important to note that some cases will require surgery for a torn meniscus, while some won’t. It’s important to speak with your doctor to determine if this is the case for you, and you may even feel like it’s beneficial to get opinions from other doctors as well. Some factors that can determine whether or not surgery is necessary for a torn meniscus include

  • The type, size, and location of the tear.
  • Your age.
  • Your level of activity and lifestyle.
  • Any related injuries (meniscus tears often happen along with ACL tears).
  • Your specific symptoms.

For patients for whom non-surgical treatment is a viable option for treating their torn meniscus, our practice offers a variety of options that may be able to help you. Regenerative options like Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC), Alpha 2 Macroglobulin Injections (also known as Platelet Rich Plasma), and Autologous Stem Cell Injection Therapy are treatments sought after by professional athletes for their ability to heal injuries quickly, allowing them to get to training as soon as possible without compromising their health. In addition to this, these regenerative healing options stimulate the body’s own natural healing abilities and some of the least invasive and simplest treatments available for these types of conditions.

Avoid Surgery for a Torn Meniscus at the Center for Sports Medicine and Wellness in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

At the Center for Sports Medicine and Wellness, we pride ourselves on being authorities in non-operative treatment of orthopedic conditions, sports medicine, and minimally invasive treatments. We know how important it is for our patients to get back into the game of life, whether they’re athletes who want to get back to their sport quickly, someone who wants to get back to their active lifestyle, or just want to get back to work. Whatever your reason for seeking treatment, we understand that minimal downtime and maximum mobility, once you’ve fully healed, is the goal. That’s why we provide the most advanced and least invasive treatment options.

If you’d like to learn more about our services or contact us to schedule a consultation, please call our office in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, at (610) 459-4200 or fill out our form. We welcome your inquiry and we look forward to helping you find relief from your pain!

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