Have you been in an accident or suffered an injury that is causing constant pain in your knee? If so, you may have a torn meniscus.

torn meniscus

The meniscus is a C-shaped, rubbery cushion in the knee that helps prevent the lower and upper leg bones from rubbing against each other in the joint. Each knee has two menisci, one on the outer side and another on the inner side. Each meniscus is composed of cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber in the knee as it carries the body’s weight.

If you have a torn meniscus, you may want to know the different types of meniscal tears. Let’s talk about the most common types of a torn meniscus, and where you can go in the Dayton region for professional and lasting treatment of your knee pain.

Types of Torn Meniscus

Some of the most common types of torn meniscus include the following:

Radial Tear

A radial tear is among the most common types of a meniscal tear. This occurs when a small tear develops in the inner side of the C-shaped curve, which is in the inner knee. This area has no blood supply, and so it will probably not heal on its own – so surgery is usually needed to trim the injured portion of the torn meniscus in order to relieve your knee pain.

Symptoms of a radial meniscus tear may include:

  • Significant pain
  • Limited motion
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Feeling as though your knee is
    • Catching
    • Locking
    • Buckling
    • Unstable

You may still be able to walk after you tear your meniscus, and in fact, many athletes continue to play with a torn meniscus.

Incomplete Tear

An intrasubstance tear, otherwise known as an incomplete tear, is very common. In fact, many people may have a tear in a portion of the meniscus and not even realize it. These early degenerative tears can be visualized on an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to help confirm the exam findings and diagnosis.

Sometimes these degenerative changes can be treated conservatively with rest, NSAIDs, Injections and physical therapy. If these treatments fail, then surgery is in the future. Typically a menisectomy is performed or cleaning of the torn meniscus tissue.

This kind of torn meniscus is common in people who are in their 20s and 30s. These are stable injuries that usually do not need surgical treatment because they eventually heal on their own and do not usually cause disabling pain.

Horizontal Tear

A horizontal tear runs along the C-shaped curve of the meniscus. This type of tear usually responds well to surgery, especially if the injury is near the outer, vascularized part of the meniscus with blood supply. Your surgeon will sew the torn sections of the meniscus back together. However, if the horizontal tear is in the inner portion with no blood supply, it may not respond to surgery.

Bucket-Handle Tear

A bucket-handle tear is when a portion of the inner meniscus tears open and interferes with the knee joint’s normal movability. In these cases, the knee typically loses its ability to move normally and can feel “stuck” or evening “locked”. If this is the case, then surgery must be performed as soon as possible to give the knee its range of motion and assure that it maintains it after surgery.

Knee and Sports Injury Expert in Dayton, Ohio

A meniscal injury is just one of many reasons behind chronic knee pain. Many of these types of torn meniscus have similar symptoms, but they require different techniques to treat them successfully and quell your knee pain.

If you have knee pain that is just not going away, see an experienced orthopedic knee specialist for an evaluation and treatment. Dr Jonathan Paley is a prominent knee and sports medicine surgeon in Montgomery County, and he has more than 30 years of experience in orthopedics.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Paley, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (937) 436-5763. With Dr. Paley’s help, you will be able to do the activities you love once again!