Drew Warnick, MD discusses how you can injure your discoid meniscus and treatment options.
What is a discoid meniscus?
A discoid meniscus is an abnormally shaped meniscus in the knee. Because of its abnormal shape, it is more prone to injury than a normally shaped meniscus. The thick, abnormal shape of a discoid meniscus makes it more likely to tear or get stuck in the knee.
How is a discoid meniscus injured?
Some people with discoid meniscus may go through their entire lives and never experience any problems. Most people, however, will have knee problems related to the discoid meniscus.
Symptoms often begin during childhood and injuries to the discoid meniscus usually occur with twisting motions to the knee. In many cases, however, children who have never experienced a major injury can also have locking and popping in the knee from the discoid meniscus.
What happens if a discoid meniscus is injured?
A discoid meniscus causes pain, stiffness, and swelling of the knee. Most people complain of catching, popping, and locking of the knee. Some patients may experience the feeling that their knee is giving away.
Once a discoid meniscus is torn, it usually does not heal because the meniscus lacks a strong blood supply.
How do I know if I have torn my discoid meniscus?
At Sports Medicine, we will examine your knee with specific tests to help assess for a discoid meniscus. X-rays and an MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis and show whether there are other problems in the knee.
What are my treatment options?
At Sports Medicine, we will develop a treatment plan for your discoid meniscus.
If a discoid meniscus is not causing pain, popping, or other symptoms, then treatment may not be necessary.
When a discoid meniscus causes symptoms, arthroscopic surgery is often necessary. During arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts a small camera in the knee and uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments. In many cases, the most effective treatment is to remove the part of the discoid meniscus that is torn and then reshape and preserve the remaining meniscus.
What about recovery?
Most patients will return to normal daily activities only a few weeks after arthroscopy for a discoid meniscus.
What about physical therapy?
Our goal at Sports Medicine is to get our patient back to participating in their favorite activities, including sports. Therefore, within physical therapy we also assess and work to correct biomechanics; proper techniques for lifting, squatting, running, throwing and so on. Depending on the patient’s prior activity level and needs for returning to sport, we also progress their exercises and give them the knowledge to continue strengthening after discharge from physical therapy by providing a thorough home exercise program, customized to each patient. Physical therapy at Johns Hopkins All Children’s is provided in an atmosphere developed for teen athletes with a one to one ratio for the highest quality of care needed for maximum outcomes and return to play. Sports Medicine physical therapy will get you back in the game!
If your child has knee pain and you’re concerned he or she may have a discoid meniscus, call us to schedule an appointment with our Sports Medicine physicians, who will determine a diagnosis and recommend further treatment.
If your child has been diagnosed with discoid meniscus and you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopaedic surgeons, call Children’s Orthopaedic and Scoliosis Surgery Associates (COSSA), L.L.P. Surgical treatment for sports injuries at Johns Hopkins All Children’s is provided by the surgeons at COSSA.