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The Dangers of a Torn Meniscus

Along with a torn ACL a torn meniscus is right up there with the top knee injuries plaguing athletes. The purpose of the meniscus (the small C-shaped disc that cushions the knee) is to disperse the weight of the body and reduce friction between the tibia and the femur while in motion. A torn meniscus prevents the knee from working correctly and is caused by a sharp twisting and turning motion while the foot is still planted on the ground.

A tear can also develop when lifting a heavy object. As an athlete ages, the meniscus becomes overworked and worn making them more susceptible to tears.

When an athlete tears their meniscus there is typically pain and swelling. If it is minor, this may go away on its own with some rest and ice. If the tear is a little more serious, the swelling may become worse over several days. There will be severely limited motion accompanied with pain. Again, these symptoms typically heal on their own within a couple weeks but may recur if not treated. If the tear is severe enough the athlete will have noticed a popping sound and will not be able to straighten the knee. Walking will be difficult.

If you suspect you have torn your meniscus your physician will be able to assess what type of rehabilitation you require. If it is serious enough, you may need to see an orthopedic surgeon for a consult. You should also visit our orthopedic physical therapy in Downer’s Grove to help aid in your rehabilitation process and to strengthen the area to prevent a recurrence.


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