Posts Tagged ‘meniscus tear’

“I woke up pain free”: Words from an Emory Sports Medicine Center Patient

mskpatientThe two years of my life before visiting Dr. Kenneth Mautner at the Emory Sports Medicine Center were painful. I had moderate to severe pain in my right interior knee joint. My symptoms were stiffness, swelling and sharp pains while I was sleeping, walking and even driving!

Finally I decided to make an appointment with one of the largest and most visible orthopedic clinics in Atlanta. During my visit there, they took an X-ray of my knee and diagnosed me with early stage Osteoarthritis. The physician suggested I first use over the counter medication twice daily to treat the pain and occasionally receive cortisone shots to help with ongoing pain management. If that didn’t work, he said I would eventually need a knee replacement.

After getting this news, I was a little uneasy. I thought to myself, “There has to be another option besides daily medication that could hurt my liver, or surgery.” After much prayer and research, I was led to the Emory Sports Medicine Center. I watched several of the patient videos and marveled at the success stories, from different conditions like hip and knee to procedures like Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy and stem cell therapy.

Without hesitation I called and made an appointment to see Dr. Mautner! Once at Emory, Dr. Mautner ordered an MRI, which revealed a bad meniscus tear and early osteoarthritis. In May 2015, we started Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, which took platelets from my blood and reinjected them back into my injured knee. The procedure took about 15 minutes and while it hurt, it was less painful than I expected.

The first nine days after the injection I experienced increased pain, but on the tenth day I woke up pain free and have not had any pain since! It’s amazing! The tissues around the joint have calmed and are not swollen. I have returned to my customary two-mile walk each day, and can go up and down hills and stairs. I can sleep and drive pain free.

I feel great and the treatment was worth every penny, which was minimal considering the wonderful benefits! Thank you Dr. Mautner and the team at Emory Sports Medicine Center.

Steve Alvarez
Patient, Emory Sports Medicine Center
Dunwoody, Georgia

Are you considering PRP therapy? If so, make sure it’s performed properly and with the right expert guidance. Learn more about why you should choose Emory Sports Medicine for PRP therapy.

About Dr. Mautner

mautner-kennethKenneth Mautner, MD, is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) with a subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine. He has a special interest in the areas of sports concussions, where he is regarded as a local and regional expert in the field. In 2005, he became one of the first doctors in Georgia to use office based neuropsychological testing to help determine return to play for athletes. He also is an expert in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal ultrasound and teaches both regional and national courses on how to perform office based ultrasound. He regularly performs Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for patients with chronic tendinopathy.

Dr. Mautner also specializes in the care of athletes with spine problems as well as hip and groin injuries.

Dr. Mautner currently serves as head team physician for Agnes Scott College and St. Pius High School and a team physician for Emory University Athletics. He is also a consulting physician for Georgia Tech Athletics, Neuro Tour, the Atlanta Ballet, and several local high schools.

Torn Meniscus and Torn Meniscus Surgery

Torn MeniscusWhen people talk about torn cartilage in the knee, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus. The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped disc that cushions your knee and acts as a shock absorber between your thighbone and shinbone. Each knee has two menisci, which help to keep your knee steady by balancing your weight across the knee.

Any person at any time can tear their meniscus, but athletes—particularly those who play contact sports—tend to be at a higher risk, the reason being that a meniscus tear is usually caused by twisting or turning quickly, often with the foot planted while the knee is bent. Players may squat and twist the knee, causing a tear.

As you get older, your meniscus gets worn which can make it tear more easily. Cartilage weakens and wears thin over time, increasing the likelihood of degenerative meniscal tears. One awkward twist when getting up from a chair may be enough to cause a tear, if the menisci have weakened with age.

Torn Meniscus Symptoms
Depending on the severity of the tear, symptoms will vary. Typically meniscal tears are categorized into three groups: minor, moderate and major tears. Generally, most people can still walk on their injured knee after a meniscal tear, but you may feel a “pop” when you tear a meniscus. Often athletes will keep playing with a tear, but over the course of two to three days the knee will likely become stiff and swollen.

Common symptoms of meniscal tears include the following:

  • Feeling a “pop” in the knee
  • Pain
  • Stiffness and swelling
  • Inability to move knee through full range of motion (such as not being able to straighten the knee)
  • Catching or locking of the knee
  • The sensation of the knee feeling “wobbly” or giving way without warning

In severe tears and those without proper treatment, a piece of meniscus may come loose and drift into the joint, causing your knee to slip, pop, or catch.

Torn Meniscus Diagnosis and Treatment
When diagnosing a meniscal tear, doctors will often perform what is known as a McMurray test. Your doctor will bend your knee, then straighten and rotate it. This puts tension on a torn meniscus. If you have a meniscal tear, this movement will cause a clicking sound. Your doctor may also order imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI to confirm the meniscal tear.

How your doctor treats your meniscus tear depends on several things, such as the type of tear, where it is, and how serious it is. Your age and how active you are may also affect your treatment choices.

Common treatments include:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Physical therapy
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (such as aspirin or ibuprofen)
  • Surgery

Surgical Treatment
Whenever possible, meniscus surgery is done using arthroscopy, rather than through a large cut in the knee. Knee arthroscopy is a commonly performed surgical procedure in which a miniature camera is inserted through a small incision to better view the knee. Your orthopaedic surgeon will then insert miniature surgical instruments through other small incisions to trim or repair the tear.

Depending on the tear, a variety of procedures can be done:

  • Meniscectomy. In this procedure, the damaged meniscal tissue is trimmed away (partial meniscectomy) or, in extreme cases, the entire meniscus will be removed (total meniscectomy). Total meniscectomy procedures are typically avoided because of the likelihood of causing osteoarthritis in the knee.
  • Meniscus repair. Some meniscal tears can be repaired by suturing (stitching) the torn pieces together.

It is preferable to preserve as much of the meniscus as possible. If the meniscus can be repaired successfully, saving the injured meniscus by doing a meniscal repair reduces the occurrence of knee joint degeneration compared with partial or total removal.

Recovery / Rehabilitation
How well the knee will heal depends on how bad the tear is. After surgery, your doctor may put your knee in a cast or brace to keep it from moving, and you may need to be on crutches for a period of time to keep weight off the knee. Your doctor will work with you on a rehabilitation program that helps you regain as much strength and flexibility as possible.

About Dr. Pombo

Mathew Pombo, MDMathew Pombo, MD, is a highly regarded orthopaedic surgeon, speaker, author and researcher who specializes in getting patients with injuries back to an active lifestyle. His professional interests include anatomic single and double bundle ACL reconstruction, rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, meniscal/cartilage injury and repair, joint preservation in the aging athlete, and minimally invasive joint replacement surgery of the knee and shoulder. Dr. Pombo has conducted extensive scientific research, published multiple journal articles, written several book chapters, and has presented both at national and international meetings on topics related to sports medicine, concussions, and orthopaedic surgery. He is a member of several design teams for orthopaedic companies and enjoys participating in the engineering of the next generation of orthopaedic techniques and equipment. He has been instrumental in bringing awareness to Sports Related Concussions and the new Georgia “Return to Play” Act and is one of the top regarded experts in the area for the treatment of Concussions. He currently serves as the Director of the Emory Sports Concussion Program.

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