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Sports Injury Spotlight: Mensicus tears

Sep 14, 2016 by Dr. Ronald Auer

The fall sports season is well underway. Unfortunately, that also means injured student athletes. Some of the most common injuries we see in orthopaedics involve the knee. Knee injuries also get a lot of press from the frequency and severity of the injuries in professional sports leagues.

Meniscus tears are very common injuries that include a wide range of symptoms and signs. They can happen with a subtle twist of the knee or with more significant trauma. Your knee has two menisci that are located on either side of the knee joint. They are cartilage structures that provide shock absorption and stability for the knee. Signs of meniscus tears include knee pain along the joint line, catching, locking, lack of motion, increased pain with activity and swelling in the knee.

Fortunately, meniscus tears can be treated with minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. Current treatment options include repair and debridement. Debridement involves shaving or trimming the tear so that the tear no longer exists. Recovery times vary significantly from person to person but some can get back to athletic activity in two to three weeks.

Prevention is paramount when it comes to knee injuries. Fancy and expensive braces do not typically help prevent knee injuries. Conditioning and strengthening are the most important measures. Focus on strengthening the quadriceps, gluteus and hamstring muscles. Equally important is stretching and flexibility. Every athlete should be able to touch their toes, not just gymnasts. Involve yourself in cross training activities to keep your knee conditioned.

Whatever your sport, you are probably using your knees. Stay fit and active to improve your sporting success and prevent painful injuries from occurring. If you do have an injury try Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation to relieve the pain. If that does not relieve the pain or you have any of the above symptoms consult a physician.

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