The knee is by far one of the most complex joints in the body. The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage – called fibrocartilage – located on the outer side of the knee. Each knee has two menisci – one at the outer edge, and one at the inner edge.The meniscus helps to absorb shock, while also lubricating the joint. The meniscus has a rubbery texture and is comprised of collagen fibers. The meniscus prevents the knee from hyperextending and helps to spread out and balance body weight evenly from the femur to the tibia bone. Without the menisci, the concentration of force into the relatively small area of the knee would damage the surface and lead to degeneration.
A torn meniscus is a tear in the knee cartilage and a very common injury. Injury can occur due to sports, repetitive motion, trauma or degeneration from aging. Most tears occur from twisting or turning suddenly with the foot firmly planted. Heavy lifting or sports that require sudden stops and starts can also cause injury. Patients often describe feeling a “pop”. Pain may be mild or severe and involve the whole knee. The knee may also swell and become stiff due to accumulating fluid inside the joint. With more severe tears, pieces of the torn meniscus may move causing an inability to straighten the knee. The knee may feel unstable and wobbly, suddenly giving out.
To diagnose a meniscus tear, physicians perform imaging studies. While an x-ray cannot detect a meniscus tear, it will detect other skeletal related conditions. An MRI, however, is quite accurate. South Florida’s Best Spine Doctors at Spine and Wellness Centers of America are proud to offer minimally invasive and regenerative options to treat meniscus injuries in order to return patients to optimum health.
Once a meniscus is torn, it will not be able to heal on its own. After a physical examination of the knee and imaging studies such as an x-ray or MRI, the team at SWCA will offer a plan to manage pain and restore function back to the knee without surgery. Depending on severity of the tear, the team at SWCA will help determine what types of interventions would be most helpful in each individual case. Once swelling and pain subside, a physical therapy program may be recommended.
During the course of 4 to 6 weeks, though pain and swelling may decrease, symptoms can become chronic without treatment. In some instances, surgery is performed to remove or repair the torn piece of meniscus. According to the National Institute of Health, studies have shown that stem cell treatment can be successfully implemented as a treatment to speed healing and repair tissue.
Stem cell treatments along with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) are non-surgical alternatives used to stimulate the body’s own healing and provide stability to the meniscus area while repairing tissue. The cells are harvested from a patient’s own marrow and are used to create a natural healing patch. Other treatment options include injecting the affected area with steroids to help to reduce inflammation and physical therapy.
Serving South Florida, Spine and Wellness Centers of America with their state of the art facilities and professional team of experts are able to advise, recommend and ultimately successfully treat meniscus injuries. With a wide variety of treatment options in their arsenal, each individual patient is given a holistic and tailored approach to make sure they are pain free and quickly back to normal, daily activities.