Meniscal Tear


Some people, because of their occupation, hobbies or advanced age, are more prone to injuries. For example, athletes and older adults are more likely to suffer a knee injury called a torn meniscus (or meniscus tear).

If you have pain, swelling or instability in your knee, turn to Mercy for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Our team can confirm a torn meniscus while ruling out other types of knee injuries, including torn ligaments or a dislocation.

What is a Meniscus?

Your knee joint is made up of three bones: the bottom of your thigh, the top of your shin and your kneecap. Between the thigh bone and shin bone are two rubbery pieces of cartilage called menisci. They help cushion your knee and keep it stable. They also prevent your bones from rubbing against each other.

If you tear a meniscus you may have several symptoms, including:

  • Feeling a popping sensation at the moment of injury
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness, including difficulty straightening your knee
  • Feeling like your knee is “locked” or “catching”
  • Feeling like your knee is about to give out on you

Causes of a Meniscus Tear

A meniscus tear is usually caused by twisting or turning quickly, often with the foot planted while the knee is bent. Meniscus tears can occur when you lift something heavy or play sports. Meniscus tears can also be age-related. Your cartilage may thin and wear away as you get older, making it more prone to tears.

Some minor meniscus tears heal on their own after plenty of rest and modified activity. More severe tears may need surgery.

Treatment for Meniscus Tears at Mercy

Even though meniscus tears are common, we know they are disruptive – especially if you have a hard time bending or putting weight on your knee. Our goal is to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. Your treatment plan will depend on several factors, including the severity of the tear and what part of the meniscus was torn. It may include:

  • Orthopedic rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles that support your knee
  • Surgical treatment, including arthroscopic surgery. Your surgeon will either trim the damaged tissue or stitch together the torn pieces.
  • Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE)
  • Medication to reduce pain and swelling
  • Crutches or a cane to help you walk without putting weight on your injured knee

Whether you receive care at a Mercy urgent care, emergency room or from one of our orthopedic specialists, you’ll find yourself in qualified, caring hands. We’ll make sure your recovery includes a return to your normal activities – whether they’re in the home or on the playing field.

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