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SSM Medical Minute: Meniscus Tears

ST. LOUIS - A misstep on the sports field or an awkward move while twisting or turning at home or work is sometimes all it takes to tear the meniscus, the rubbery piece of cartilage protecting the knee.

"It serves a super important purpose in terms of shock absorption," said SSM Health DePaul Hospital Sports Medicine orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ryan Pomajzl. He says a meniscus tear is very common and can happen at any age he will first consider a non surgical option for the patient.

"Some treatment options include rest, activity modification, use some elastic bandages to help with the swelling, and anti-inflammatories. Often times, we can use a cortisone injection to help decrease the pain and irritation inside the knee. So some minor tears that are relatively small. They often times go away on their own over a course of a few days. Large tears cause a lot more swelling, a lot more pain, a lot more dysfunction, and often times they can be helped with some injections and some relative rest."

Dr. Pomajzl says severe tears often require arthroscopic surgery to repair or replace the meniscus through two small incisions.

"It comes back to how severe the tear is and where it is within the knee and their overall activity level. My goal is to get them back as functioning as highly as they were before the tear," he said.

For more information on sports injuries, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Thursday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​