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6 Telltale Signs of a Meniscus Tear

6 Telltale Signs of a Meniscus Tear

Were you on the field, court, rink, or slopes, and suddenly experienced knee pain after a twist or a pivot? It could be time to see an orthopedic surgeon in San Francisco to repair the damage done to your meniscus.

At The Institute for Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine (IASM) in San Francisco, California, Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht and Dr. Ephraim Dickinson routinely provide treatment for meniscus tears. Both are considered a qualified knee surgeon in San Francisco, who can perform arthroscopic knee surgery if necessary for your injury. 

Meniscus basics

Your knee has a plethora of stationary and moving parts, working together to create a joint that supports weight and allows a surprisingly versatile range of motion. The meniscus is a small but critical piece of cartilage designed to absorb shock and cushion your knee when you run, jump, or take impact.

There are four main types of meniscus tears

  1. Radial tears: start in the center and split the meniscus outward along a radius
  2. Flap tears: defined by a section being partially separated from the whole
  3. Bucket handle tears: literally rip a hole in the center of the meniscus
  4. Degenerative tears: often due to repetitive use causing general tissue damage

The type of tear and its severity will be a determining factor in what treatment options are recommended. In most cases, surgical intervention is required.

6 signs of a meniscus tear

The most common presentation of a meniscus tear is an acute injury caused by a sudden pivot or twist. You might experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. A popping sensation: sometimes the pop is even audible
  2. Sharp pain, especially when twisting or rotating your knee 
  3. Sudden and extreme swelling or stiffness around the knee joint
  4. Difficulty bending or straightening your knee fully
  5. Feeling your knee is locked in place
  6. Instability of the knee, or inability to bear weight on that leg without collapsing

You might have only one or two of these symptoms, or all of them. If you suspect a meniscus tear, it’s important to seek expert help as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

Treating a torn meniscus

Cartilage injuries in the knee are among some of the most difficult to treat, as there’s no blood supply, and the body is slow to regenerate that kind of tissue. A torn meniscus is highly unlikely to heal properly without surgical intervention. A sports medicine doctor in San Francisco can help you recover and regain your range of motion.

A skilled doctor will evaluate the tear, and tell you if you’re a good candidate for arthroscopic surgical repair of the meniscus. He typically uses a meniscal allograft to replace the damaged part of your meniscus, if needed, then plans your recovery to prevent further inflammation and injury due to stressing the joint too soon. 

Do you have one or more symptoms of a meniscus tear? You can schedule a consultation with the team at IASM and get advice from a respected knee doctor in San Francisco, by calling 415-230-3667 or booking an appointment online

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