Interventional Orthopedics of Washington

Otoño Silva, MD

Physiatrist specializing in Orthopedic Regenerative Medicine located in Bellevue, WA

Meniscus Tear

If you’re among the 14% of women and men in the United States who’ve torn meniscus cartilage in your knees, you’ll have trouble moving your knee and accomplishing daily tasks. Otoño Silva, MD, founder of Interventional Orthopedics of Washington in Bellevue, Washington, helps your body heal a meniscus tear with state-of-the-art, minimally invasive regenerative therapies. If you want to restore your meniscus without surgery, contact Interventional Orthopedics of Washington by phone or using the online request form.

Meniscus Tear Q & A

What is a meniscus?

You have two crescent-shaped discs of meniscus cartilage in each knee. These rubbery cushions keep the bones in your knee joint from rubbing against one another and absorb shocks between your thigh bones and shin bones when you walk, run, or jump. The lateral meniscus is nearer to the outside of your body, while the medial meniscus is nearer to the middle of your body.

How did I tear my meniscus?

You’re more likely to tear the medial meniscus than the lateral meniscus. Risk factors for a meniscus tear include:

  • Older age
  • Playing sports
  • Unstable knee
  • Torn ligaments (ACL, MCL, LCL)
  • Being overweight
  • Trauma

If you engage in repetitive activities that involve high impact or twisting and bending your knees, including manual labor, you’re more at risk for a meniscus tear.

What does a meniscus tear feel like?

You might not notice a meniscus tear at first or you might feel only mild discomfort. However, if you’ve suddenly torn your meniscus, you’ll experience uncomfortable symptoms over the next few hours, including:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • A locked knee
  • Pops or clicks in the knee when it’s moved
  • A creaking knee
  • A knee that won’t completely bend or straighten  

Whenever you experience knee pain or disability — even if it’s mild — you should initiate the PRICE protocol (protection, rest, icing, compression, elevation) to prevent your symptoms from worsening. For severe pain or restricted knee movement, call Dr. Silva right away.

How does an interventional orthopedist treat a meniscus tear?

Dr. Silva considers your knee a complex with interrelated parts. When you tear your meniscus, you might also have injured other parts such as ligaments and bones or even other joints above and below the knee. He starts each consultation with a thorough physical exam, medical history, diagnostic ultrasound, and any necessary tests to determine the source or sources of your pain.

Dr. Silva usually first advises lifestyle changes and supportive therapies like:

  • Eating a healthy, or taking beneficial supplements
  • Utilizing a supportive brace
  • Losing weight
  • Doing physical therapy to build strength
  • Modified exercises

With state of the art regenerative medicine, you can often avoid a meniscus surgery. Surgical excision may temporarily help but can put you at risk for early-onset osteoarthritis since the protective cushion is removed. Surgical suturing of the meniscus often does not address the underlying knee dysfunction that resulted in the meniscus tear in the first place. Depending on your needs, Dr. Silva might recommend regenerative interventions that help your meniscus repair itself while also stabilizing the knee. Treatments at Interventional Orthopedics of Washington include:

  • Prolotherapy
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
  • Stem cell therapy

Dr. Silva injects regenerative therapies directly into the site of your injury, and other supportive structures using ultrasound or x-ray as a guide. Regenerative therapies stimulate and accelerate your body’s healing response to restore integrity and function to injured tissues.

To repair your meniscus and restore function and comfort to your knee, contact the team at Interventional Orthopedics of Washington by phone or by using the online form.

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