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Meniscus Tear Treatment
The meniscus is a crescent-shaped disc of cartilage found between the bones of the knee (the femur and tibia). Each knee has two menisci that cushion the joint. Depending on the severity of the tear, symptoms of a torn meniscus may include pain, swelling, stiffness, clicking or locking of the knee.
Meniscus Tear Treatment: Why Choose Johns Hopkins
- Whether you are a serious athlete determined to return to your sport, or you would just like to get back on your feet to take care of daily tasks, we are here to help you return to your ideal activity level.
- The type of treatment you need for a meniscus tear depends on your symptoms and the type of tear. We will help you choose the best treatment plan to meet your needs.
- Having torn your meniscus once could make you more likely to experience another knee injury. Our specialists will explain strengthening exercises and other measures to help protect your knee from further injury.
Meniscus Tear Treatment Options
Treatment for meniscus tears ranges from icing and pain medication to surgery, depending on your symptoms and the type of tear.
Nonsurgical treatments may include:
- pain medication
- muscle-strengthening exercises
Meniscus Tear Surgery
Our specialists perform meniscus tear surgery arthroscopically, by making small cuts in the knee. After surgery, rehabilitation exercises will help you regain range of motion and strengthen the muscles that support the joint.
The most common type of surgery for a meniscus tear is a partial meniscectomy. During this procedure, the surgeon will trim off the torn part of the meniscus, leaving behind as much of the intact meniscus tissue as possible.
In some cases, the torn part of the meniscus may be stitched back together, depending on the type of tear and condition of the meniscus. This procedure is more common in younger patients. Because the meniscus tissue needs to heal back together, recovery time is longer for this procedure than a partial meniscectomy. It is common for patients to be on crutches for about two weeks and in a brace for up to six weeks after surgery. It may be six months or more before it is safe to return to sports activities.
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Meniscus Surgery | Grace's Story
Grace Herpel was an avid runner with 5 long distance races planned for 2016. But after tearing her left meniscus during the Ocean City half marathon in April 2016, she feared she might never run again.
Grace’s primary care doctor referred her to Dr. Miho Tanaka, orthopaedic surgeon and director of the Women's Sports Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Tanaka understood Grace’s determination and listened to her concerns.
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