Meniscus Tear Treatment in Yuma, Arizona

The meniscus is the cushioning cartilage located within the knee joint, between the thighbone and shinbone. It is composed of two c-shaped pieces of cartilage, known as menisci, which are located at the inner and outer edges of the knee. The meniscus distributes the body’s weight across the knee, increasing balance and steadiness during movement. Damage to the meniscus can result in changes in the distribution of weight, causing an excessive amount of pressure to be placed on certain areas of the knee and increasing the risk of developing arthritis.

Causes and Types of Meniscus Tears

Meniscus tears are often associated with high-intensity sports, such as football, and frequently occur in conjunction with other knee injuries. Tearing frequently is the result of the improper lifting of heavy objects or the twisting of the knee while the knee joint is bent. Damage to the meniscus can also result from damage to other knee components, such as the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).

Learn more about ACL injury causes and treatment options in Yuma »

Meniscus tears are categorized into three types: minor, moderate, and severe tears. Even slight damage to the meniscus will often result in pain and swelling. Based on the type of tear, patients will often also experience:

  • Tenderness
  • Popping of the joint
  • Limited range of motion
  • Joint instability
  • Stiffness

Minor tearing, or partial tearing, of the meniscus does not typically require surgical treatment. Pain and swelling in the joint can often be treated with a combination of rest, application of a cold compress, and anti-inflammatory medications. After approximately 2-to-3 weeks of rest, patients are typically able to return to daily activities and recreational sports pain free. Immediate rest is crucial to recovery, as continued use of the joint after injury can often cause additional tearing.

Moderate tears are much more noticeable than minor tears, causing increasing pain and stiffness in the knee join. Even though patients suffering from moderate meniscus tears can typically walk normally after sustaining damage, surgical treatment is often required to fully relieve symptoms.

Surgery is required to relieve symptoms for patients suffering from full meniscus tears. When a patient sustains a severe tear of the meniscus, pieces of the cartilage may break off and travel into other areas of the joint, resulting in severe instability in the joint, as well as increasing pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Minimally Invasive Meniscus Surgery

Meniscus surgery includes either the repairing or removal of the damaged areas of the meniscus, as well as removal any pieces of cartilage that have broken off and traveled to other areas of the joint. Dr. Henderson will determine whether the patient will benefit more from removal or repair of the damaged areas using MRI results. To perform either procedure, Dr. Henderson will use minimally invasive surgical techniques to remove or repair the damaged cartilage.

More information on different minimally invasive surgical techniques »

Meniscetomy is a procedure used to remove damaged portions of the meniscus. During the procedure, Dr. Henderson will remove only the torn portions, preserving as much of the healthy cartilage as possible. This procedure is often most beneficial for patients suffering from moderate tearing.

For patients suffering from severe tearing, meniscus repair surgery will often produce the best results. During surgery, Dr. Henderson will use suturing techniques to repair the torn edges of the meniscus, and remove any free-floating pieces of cartilage.

Meniscus Tears in Yuma, Arizona

Rodney D. Henderson, MD., P.C., is a board certified surgeon specializing in sports medicine and minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Henderson is dedicated to providing the most effective care to help patients return to their active lifestyles, performing over 3,000 surgeries on patients in the Yuma, Arizona area, To learn more about meniscus tear treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Henderson at the Yuma, AZ office.