A meniscus tear is one of the most common sports-related injuries to the knee.
The meniscus is the C-shaped rubbery cushion of cartilage that serves as a shock absorber between the bottom of the thigh bone and the top of the shin bone. The meniscus helps to evenly distribute the body’s weight over the knee joint and allows the joint to move and turn smoothly.
Meniscal tears often occur in combination with other injuries such as a ligament tear to the ACL or MCL. Tennis players commonly run, twist and pivot as they play. Likewise, a golfer’s swing relies heavily on a twisting motion through the body. A sudden twist too far or a stumble can strain the knee beyond its normal range, causing injury to the cartilage. Although this injury often occurs to athletes who play high energy and contact sports, you don’t have to be playing a sport to tear your meniscus. The act of simply stepping out of your car may cause a tear.
Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus
The most common symptoms of a torn meniscus include pain and swelling, persistent soreness on one side of the knee and sometimes a tendency for the knee to lock or have difficulty straightening. Diagnosis is usually made by taking an x-ray and MRI. Unfortunately, the meniscus cannot heal itself due to the lack of blood supply in that area. Some patients achieve relief from a steroidal injection into the affected area however if the problem returns, surgery may be needed.
If surgery is recommended, it will most likely involve a 20 to 30 minute arthroscopic procedure performed through two or three tiny incisions in the knee. A small camera or scope is inserted through one incision for the surgeon to examine the interior of the joint as well as guide the procedure. Through the other incision(s), the surgeon will use specially designed instruments to trim and fashion the rough and frayed edges of the damaged cartilage into a smooth shape. In some cases, it may be possible to repair a tear in the cartilage by sewing it back together. Most of the time patients are able to resume their normal sports activities within four weeks.
On Tuesday,October 12, from 7-9 p.m., the ONS Foundation for Clinical Research and Education will present a free workshop on girls’ sports injuries with a focus on ACL injury and stress fractures at the OGRCC, Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, 90 Harding Road, Old Greenwich. Primary care sports medicine physician Gloria Cohen, MD and orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Katherine Vadasdi, MDwill discuss why girls have certain risks for potentially serious sports injuries. The hands-on workshop is open to girls, ages 11 to 19, parents, youth sports coaches and athletic trainers. Physical therapists from ONS Physical Therapy will work with participants in small groups on effective conditioning techniques for injury prevention. The seminar is free, however registration is required. Call (203) 637 3659 or email email@example.com.
Integrative Approach to Medical Management
“One of the most important ways to prevent sports injuries in girls is to recognize the signs and symptoms of minor conditions,” says Dr. Cohen, whose practice takes an integrative approach to medical management, considering a patient’s biomechanics, cardiovascular, and pulmonary function as it relates to athletic performance. “Continuing to play after a seemingly ‘minor injury’ can make the condition more serious. For example, shin pain might not be from shin splints or muscle strain, but could be a symptom of a hairline or more serious fracture.” Both doctors recommend a team approach to keep athletes safe. The athlete, parents and coaches need to work together.
Seminar Topics Include:
Why some injuries are unique to girls
How girls’ biomechanics and nutritional needs differ from boys’
Danger signs and symptoms of injury
Common overuse injuries. Know of the risk factors and warning signs
What can be done to keep girls on the playing field and out of the operating room?
About Dr. Cohen
Dr. Cohen serves as primary-care team physician for the Columbia University Varsity athletic teams and lectures for the Columbia Department of Orthopedics. She has served as team physician for the Canadian National Olympic Cycling Team for more than 14 years and as team physician for the Canadian fencing team. She has been a member of the Canadian medical team for four Olympic Games.
About Dr. Vadasdi
Dr. Vadasdi is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine, and the shoulder and elbow. She performed a residency in orthopedics at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York and completed fellowship training in shoulder, elbow and sports medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, Department of Orthopedics. In addition to their practices, both physicians are accomplished athletes. Dr. Cohen is a competitive runner and cyclist. Dr. Vadasdi is an experienced triathlete and has completed several Ironman competitions. She is also an alpine climber.
A Collaborative Program
The workshop is a collaborative program of the OGRCC (Old Greenwich-Riverside Community Center) and the ONS Foundation for Clinical Research and Education.
Check out this interview in the Greenwich Citizen with Dr. Katherine Vadasdi. She recently presented a talk at Greenwich Academy about sports injuries and injury prevention in female athletes. She sat down with Rob Kelly of from Greenwich Citizen to discuss injuries that seem to be inherent in female athletes and why some of these injuries are on the rise. Read the article>