Your knee joints are cushioned by two pads of cartilage called menisci. Each meniscus is C-shaped and cups either side of your knee, protecting the bones from grinding as you bend your leg.
Meniscus tears are some of the most common causes of knee pain. Sudden impact or injury can damage the cartilage, and when the cartilage in your knee gets torn, you’re left with pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
At New York Spine and Sports Surgery, Dr. Aron Rovner and our orthopedic team are experts in treating meniscus tears. We work with people of all ages to identify the root cause of their pain, find effective ways to treat the injury, and get them back to living life.
Common causes of meniscus tears
Your meniscus plays a crucial role in knee mobility. It protects the ends of your femur and your tibia, the two main bones in your knee. It keeps the bones from rubbing together, minimizes undue wear on the joint, and absorbs shock when you step, jump, and land.
The meniscus is susceptible to injury from abrupt movement, impact, or pressure in your knee. It’s a very common sports injury, because many sporting activities require sudden stopping, pivoting, or jumping that are hard on knee joints.
Playing sports like football, basketball, soccer, and tennis may increase your risk of suffering a meniscus tear. Deep squats, such as those with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or weightlifting, can also cause meniscus damage.
Athletes are at risk for meniscus tears, but anyone can suffer this common knee injury, and your risk increases as you get older. Cartilage naturally wears down with time, and meniscus tears are more common in people over 30 years old.
What a torn meniscus feels like
An obvious sign that you’ve torn your meniscus is a popping sensation or an audible popping sound when the injury occurs. But if your meniscus tears as the result of age-related degeneration, the injury might not be immediately noticeable.
Some of the most common symptoms of a torn meniscus include:
- Knee pain
- Decreased range of motion
- Locking in the joint
- Weakness in the joint
You may be able to stand on your leg after suffering a meniscus tear, but your knee might feel unstable and weak. When your meniscus tears, the area often feels painful to the touch.
Don’t ignore your symptoms, because meniscus tears usually don’t heal on their own. Avoiding treatment may only make your symptoms worse.
If you’ve suffered an injury and now your knee is stiff, swollen, or painful, Dr. Rovner and our team offer comprehensive care to help you start healing. We begin with diagnostic services to determine the extent of your injury.
After a physical exam and diagnostic testing, we recommend the appropriate treatment. Dr. Rovner takes a conservative approach, often starting with at-home care tactics. If your meniscus tear is severe or you’re still experiencing pain after trying other treatments, minimally invasive surgery could be a good option for you.
You’ll find top-tier orthopedic care here at New York Spine and Sports Surgery. Contact us online or call one of our offices today for an appointment.