Every year in the United States a meniscus tear occurs 500,000 times. This injury cripples athletes and people of all ages.
What in the world is a meniscus?
In your knee there are three bones that all meet to form your knee joint. These bones are the femur (thighbone), the tibia (shinbone) and the patella (knee cap). These are large bones and in between the femur and the tibia is a piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber. This piece of cartilage is called the meniscus. The meniscus is wedged in between the bones to prevent painful bone-on-bone rubbing and to provide stability.
What’s a Meniscus Tear?
A meniscus tear, or a meniscal tear as some call it, happens when you damage this piece of cartilage. Think of this piece of cartilage as a piece of rubber. Rubber isn’t an indestructible material. If you apply too much pressure onto rubber it can tear, rip, chip and if you are constantly putting force on the rubber you can eventually wear it down to nothing. The same principles apply to your meniscus. Many athletes damage their meniscus during sports, resulting in a torn meniscus. However, many elderly patients are experiencing knee pain because they have worn down their meniscus from years of overusing their knees.
Meniscus Tear Symptoms
If you have a torn meniscus, there’s a good chance you’ll know it! For athletes who have over twisted their knee and have torn their meniscus the pain is usually instant. However, since over twisting your knee can result in other knee injuries such as a torn ACL, how can you determine that it’s your meniscus? Here are a few sure signs to look out for.
- Knee clicking
- You’re knee may lock up from a meniscus chip floating in the knee.
- You’ll experience pain along the joint line, usually posteriorly.
- You’ll experience mild swelling following activities
- You’ll have an aching pain throughout the day.
Torn Meniscus Treatment
The decision on how you treat your torn meniscus depends on the severity of the injury, your age and the exact location of the tear. For example, the outside of the meniscus has a more rich blood supply, which can help promote healing. An injury in this part of the meniscus may heal on it’s own. However, this means that the inside of the meniscus isn’t receiving as many nutrients from blood flow so you’ll have to help heal the healing through either surgery or regenerative medicine.
Torn Meniscus Surgical Treatment
If you decide to attempt to treat your meniscus tear with surgery, the process may be quite a process. You’ll have to first go through a knee arthroscopy, which is a tiny camera inserted into your knee through an incision. This camera gives the surgeons a view of the inside of the knee to see exactly how and where your meniscus is damaged. The next part of this procedure involves either stitching the torn meniscus together or removing the damaged part of the torn meniscus. If you are able to stitch the meniscus back together the recovery time will be much longer than just removing the damaged pieces.
After the surgery you will be placed in a cast or brace to prevent yourself from moving the knee. You will have to use braces for about a month so that you don’t put stress on the knee, you will have to eventually begin a rehabilitation process to begin exercising the knee and the complete rehabilitation process will be about three months!
Torn Meniscus Regenerative Treatment
The only alternative to surgery for a torn meniscus is regenerative medicine. In the past the only way to heal a torn meniscus was with surgery. Now stem cell therapy is available to promote healing above and beyond what the body can heal on it’s own.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the ability to transform into other cells in which they come in contact. After they come in contact with a specific cell they also begin to multiply. Stem cell therapy is a process where stem cells are injected in a problematic area that needs regeneration, or the area needs to regrow. For example, you have torn your meniscus or have worn the meniscus down. An injection of stem cells to this area would naturally heal the torn area and may regrow the worn down areas.
Stem cells are donated to us from a healthy mother during a scheduled C-section. No one is harmed while obtaining the cells so the process is 100% ethical. The whole treatment is a very effective process that takes less than an hour, you can go home and resume normal activity within a few days instead of a few months and you may be feeling better in a few weeks!
If stem cell therapy, avoiding surgery or regenerative medicine is something that interests you than the best place to start is by giving the Stem Cell Professionals in York, PA a call at (717)-881-2343.