Tennis Injuries: Torn Meniscus

Meet Louis Gordan
• • • • • White Male Age 74 Avid Tennis Player Good Overall Health Injury: Torn Meniscus

Not Actual Patient

What is a Meniscus Tear?
A meniscus tear is a common knee joint injury. This rubbery tissue acts as a shock absorber between the upper and lower leg bones. Each knee has two C-shaped menisci; a lateral meniscus at the outer side of the knee and a medial meniscus at the inner side of the knee. A meniscus tear can greatly limit your knee function.

How is the Meniscus Torn?
A meniscus tear usually occurs with a twisting or pivoting motion and often with the foot planted and the knee partially flexed (for example, when lifting or playing tennis). Other knee injuries, such as a torn ligament, can happen at the same time. As we age, our meniscus becomes worn and may tear more easily.

What are the Symptoms?
Minor Tears: Pain and slight swelling. Symptoms last 2-3 weeks. Moderate Tear: Pain at side or center of knee. Inability to walk, increased swelling, limited ROM, sharp pain when twisting. Symptoms generally disappear. Severe Tears: Pieces of torn meniscus may dislocate into the joint space and lead to “locked knee,” causing stiffness and swelling.

What are Treatment Options?
• Your PCP will decide based on when and where the tear occurred, and the age, health status, and activity level of the patient. • Nonsurgical Treatment: R.I.C.E. and physical therapy • Surgical Repair: Removal of torn section or meniscal repair. • Small tears located at the outer edge of the meniscus often heal with rest. Larger tears located toward the center of the meniscus may not heal well because blood supply to that area is poor. In a young person, surgery to repair the tear may be the first choice because it may restore function. Your age and activity level will also determine whether surgery is a viable option for you. In a young person, surgery to repair a tear may be the first choice because it has a greater chance of healing and restoring a more normal function to the knee. It is generally believed that there is a poorer potential for healing in older patients, but successful repair of tears in people older than age 50 has been reported. The most common risks of surgery include infection, a blood clot in the leg, damage to nerves or blood vessels, and the risks of anesthesia.

People over the age of 50 have the common risks of infection, blood clot in the leg, damage to nerves or blood vessels, and the chances of anesthesia.

Risks of Surgery

Reasons to have Surgery
• Surgical repair may result in decreased pain and return of normal function to the knee. • Without surgery, pain may increase and persist making it harder to perform activities of daily living. • Prevention of long-term complications, such as joint degeneration (osteoarthritis), with successful surgical repair.

Photos of Surgery