Meniscus Tear

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K. Mathew Warnock, MD

Meniscus Tear Treatment in Houston

If you have been suffering from knee pain, it is possible that you have a meniscus tear. Houston patients who may have torn their menisci (plural of meniscus) through sport or activities can be diagnosed and treated by Dr. Warnock, a specialist in knee surgery.

What causes a meniscus tear in the knee?

Meniscal tears are one of the most common knee injuries and can occur during a variety of activities. Simply turning the knee too quickly can be enough to cause a tear. Athletes often suffer this type of injury playing sports, but heavy lifting or a fall can also cause a meniscus tear. As one ages, cartilage in the knee becomes weakened, making the meniscus more prone to tears. Individuals can tear a meniscus simply by twisting the knee too far with normal daily activities.

What are the symptoms?

Meniscus tears do not always display symptoms right away. While you may feel a ‘pop’ when tearing the meniscus, more active individuals, such as athletes, may overlook the injury. Individuals suffering from a meniscus tear will notice a gradual increase in stiffness and swelling. The following symptoms are commonly associated with a meniscus tear:
I suffered a severe torn meniscus while working in my yard. I met with Dr. Warnock and he completed a very thorough examination and determined that surgery was the only option for repair and pain relief. He was professional, thorough, and competent in both the surgical procedures and in my post-surgery care.

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Locking of the knee
  • Weakness of the knee
  • Loss of range of motion loss
  • Giving way
  • Catching

What is the diagnosis process?

Dr. Warnock will first discuss your symptoms and medical history. During an examination, he will check for tenderness along the joint line and listen for clicking noises when manipulating the knee. These are common signs of a tear. The McMurray test is another standard technique used to check for a torn meniscus. During the test, Dr. Warnock will bend your knee, then straighten it. The tension caused by the rotation of the knee will produce a clicking sound if the meniscus is torn.

Imaging with an MRI can be used to confirm the diagnosis. An MRI can be used to show soft tissue, such as the meniscus, while an X-ray can expose other problems such as arthritis. Dr. Warnock may use these methods to confirm the diagnosis.

What are my treatment options?

Treatment is entirely dependent on your unique situation. There are multiple treatment options depending on where the tear is located, its size and shape. Treatment is determined by your health, age, and activity level.  Can a torn meniscus heal itself?  Some meniscal tears can heal on their own, without surgery but the majority of meniscal tears do not heal.

Non-surgical treatment generally uses the RICE protocol, which is a standard procedure for treating sports-related injuries:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Following the RICE protocol will help reduce swelling and pain.

Torn Meniscus Arthroscopy – Knee Arthroscopy

Arthroscopic knee surgery is often needed for more serious tears of the inner two-thirds of the meniscus because that area lacks a blood supply. Without nutrients from blood, the area cannot heal on its own. Arthroscopic meniscus surgery uses a miniature camera through a small incision on the knee to view the tear. Miniature tools are used to repair or remove the tear. If the meniscus tear is irreparable Dr. Warnock will trim away the excess tissue from the tear. If the tear is repairable, Dr. Warnock will sew the torn meniscus back together.

Recover from a Torn Meniscus

After meniscus surgery, rehabilitation is vital for full recovery. A brace may be needed to protect the knee. When the knee has healed sufficiently to regain activity, the brace is removed. Exercise will help to restore mobility and range of motion and will build the knee strength. While physical therapy may be necessary, most exercises can be performed in your own home.

Treatment by Dr. Warnock, a Specialist in Knee Surgery

Although a meniscus tear can be a serious injury, most patients regain excellent mobility after treatment. By following Dr. Warnock’s treatment plan, you will can regain your activity level and enjoy life without pain. If you suspect a knee injury you should contact Dr. Warnock immediately. Contact our office in Houston, TX, to see Dr. Warnock and start the treatment you need today.

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