Meniscal Root Tears

A meniscal root tear is a specific type of injury to the meniscus, which is a cartilage structure in the knee joint that provides cushioning and stability. The meniscal roots are the attachment points of the meniscus to the tibia (shin bone). When these roots are torn, it can lead to instability and compromised function of the knee joint.

Symptoms of a meniscal root tear may include pain, swelling, locking or catching sensations in the knee, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg. These symptoms can worsen with physical activity.  These injuries commonly occur with walking on stairs and is described as a painful pop with pain in the back of the knee.  

Treatment for a meniscal root tear typically depends on the severity of the tear, the patient’s age, activity level, and overall health. Options may include:

  1. Conservative management: For minor tears or in cases where surgery may not be advisable, such as with significant osteoarthritis,  conservative treatments such as rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve joint stability may be recommended.
  2. Surgical repair: In cases where the tear is severe or causing significant symptoms, surgery may be necessary. Surgical options may include repair of the torn meniscal root using arthroscopic techniques. During arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon inserts a small camera (arthroscope) into the knee joint through small incisions to visualize and repair the tear back to the bone.  This is not indicated in patients with significant arthritis.
  3. Partial meniscectomy: In cases where the tear is not repairable or the damage is extensive, a partial meniscectomy may be performed. This involves trimming away the damaged portion of the meniscus to relieve symptoms and restore function.
  4. Meniscal transplantation: In some cases, particularly in younger patients with significant meniscal damage, meniscal transplantation may be considered. This involves replacing the damaged meniscus with a donor meniscus or a synthetic substitute.

The choice of treatment depends on various factors, and it’s essential to consult with an orthopedic surgeon for a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan.  At Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine we have specialists who can make a prompt diagnosis and start appropriate treatment which can help improve outcomes and prevent long-term complications associated with a meniscal root tears.

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