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7 Signs of a Meniscal Injury

Every year, more than a half-million Americans tear the meniscus, the tough, C-shaped cartilage that supports your knee joint and keeps your weight evenly distributed. Many thousands more suffer from other painful and debilitating meniscal injuries.  

At OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare, in San Diego, Encinitas, and Temecula, California, our board-certified surgeons David Chao, MD, and Matthew Gargulinski, DO, use a wide range of treatments, from conservative interventions to advanced surgical procedures to help our patients recover from meniscal injury to restore function to the knee joint.  

Our team also knows that understanding the signs of a meniscal injury helps ensure you get the care you need and can prevent further damage, like a full meniscal tear, from occurring. Take a moment to learn more about meniscus injuries and seven signs you may have one. 

What is the meniscus? 

Each C-shaped piece of touch cartilage on the sides of your knees is called a meniscus. The meniscus plays an important role in the function of your knee joint, helping keep it cushioned and stabilized by evenly distributing your weight.  

What can cause a meniscus injury?

Meniscal injuries are common sports-related injuries that occur when your knee twists or rotates suddenly or with force while your feet remain planted on the ground. Sports that involve sudden movements and force, such as soccer, football, volleyball, and basketball put you at higher risk for meniscal injuries.

Your meniscus also weakens with age and overuse. Older athletes and adults 65 or older have a much greater risk of sustaining a meniscus injury. In fact, medical researchers report that 40% of people over 65 have a degenerative meniscal injury.

The most common meniscus injury involves a meniscal tear, which may occur in a variety of ways. Sometimes one or more pieces of cartilage may break off and catch in the knee joint, causing it to “lock” in place. 

What are 7 signs of a meniscal injury?

The signs of a meniscal injury depend on the nature of the injury. Degenerative meniscal injuries, those that typically result from overuse or with age, may develop slowly over time. Symptoms from acute injuries, however, typically appear immediately after the injury.   

Some of the most common signs of a meniscal injury include: 

If you suspect a meniscal injury, it’s important to seek help from a specialist, like Dr. Chao or Dr. Gargulinski. When not properly treated, meniscus injuries can cause long-term mobility issues, chronic knee pain, and an increased risk of developing arthritis in the affected knee. 

How are meniscal injuries treated?

Treatment of meniscal injuries depends on the nature of the injury. Your provider at OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare first evaluates your symptoms and conducts a comprehensive physical exam. An imaging study may be required to make a complete diagnosis and determine the severity of your injury.

Depending on their findings, your OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare provider creates a personalized treatment plan tailored to your meniscal injury. For minor injuries or mild degenerative issues, conservative treatments, such as rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and elevation may be sufficient.

Other possible treatment modalities include regenerative medicine techniques, like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, physical therapy to help strengthen your knee, and in severe cases, surgical interventions.  

If you’re worried about a meniscal injury, contact the experts at OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare in San Diego, Temecula, or Encinitas, California. Call the office nearest you, or schedule an appointment online at your convenience. 

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