Treating a Meniscus Tear: When Is Knee Surgery the Best Option?

Knee pain affects about 19% of Americans for various reasons, with one of them being meniscus tears. It can result from twisting your knee, or it can occur slowly over time as you age.

At Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Consultants of New York, with locations in Manhattan and Staten Island, New York, double board-certified physician and orthopaedic surgeon Cary B. Chapman, MD, treats all knee conditions with expert precision and care. If you have a meniscus tear, Dr. Chapman will examine the severity of it and determine the best option for you.

What is a meniscus tear?

Each knee has two menisci, which are pads of tissue that absorb the shock between your tibia and femur when you’re standing, walking, running, or jumping. They also help stabilize the joints in your knees. If they tear, you can lose your mobility and experience persistent pain.

There are two types of meniscus tears:

Acute meniscus tears

This type of tear typically happens with a sports injury. The knee twists while it’s bent, causing a tear. 

Degenerative meniscus tears

These tears tend to occur as you get older. Studies show that 60% of people over age 65 develop degenerative meniscus tears.

How should I treat a meniscus tear?

When you come in to see us at Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Consultants of New York, we’ll determine the severity of your condition with a thorough exam, which may include X-rays, an MRI, an EKG, and bloodwork.

We’ll then diagnose the type of tear you have and assess its location and size. We’ll also factor in your age, any past injuries, and your current activities to decide on the best treatment plan for you.

Nonsurgical treatment

Nonsurgical treatments include the RICE protocol, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You can also take anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce pain and swelling.

Surgical treatment

If your pain persists or your symptoms appear to be more severe, Dr. Chapman may recommend knee arthroscopy, which is a common surgical procedure. 

Knee arthroscopy involves inserting a miniature camera into your knee through a small incision to give Dr. Chapman a clear view of your tear. Dr. Chapman then uses state-of-the-art instruments to repair the tear.

Following surgery, you may need physical therapy for about three months. After your recovery, you should be able to continue your normal routine. As with all of his patients, Dr. Chapman will discuss what will be involved in your surgery and your timeline for recovery.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Chapman and our team, book an appointment online or over the phone with Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Consultants of New York today.

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