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A-Rod Diagnosed with Torn Meniscus

Alex Rodriguez has pulled out of the All-Star Game. He was diagnosed by MRI yesterday with a right knee meniscus tear. If he elects to have surgery, he will be out of the line-up for 4 to 6 weeks.  What is the meniscus and why is it important?

ANATOMY

The knee consists of 3 bones: the knee cap (patella), the thigh bone (femur), and the leg bone (tibia).  These three bones interact to give range of motion to the knee.  Inside the knee joint, the bones are covered with a substance known as cartilage.  The cartilage allows the bones to glide together, painlessly.  This substance is critical to the function of any joint in the human body.  Between the bones are cartilage discs, known as menisci.  These discs cushion the knee.

 The meniscus can tear anywhere along its course.  These tears come in a variety of forms and can lead to pain, catching, popping, or clicking of the knee.

CAUSES

Meniscal tears can occur with trauma, twisting injuries, and arthritis.  Tears that are towards the central portion of the knee can be cleaned up, whereas those that are towards the periphery may be repaired.

SYMPTOMS

Not all meniscal tears cause symptoms.  However, symptoms can include pain, swelling, clicking, popping, or even catching.

TREATMENTS

Meniscal tears are treated with shaving procedure to “clean-up” the tear.

Occasionally, if the tear is located towards the periphery of the meniscus, a repair can be attempted.

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE

If you suspect that you have symptoms concerning for a cartilage injury of the meniscus, you should seek medical attention.  A good physical exam, x-rays, and an MRI may be needed to evaluate the injury.

RETURN TO ACTIVITIES/OUTCOMES

Most athletes with meniscal tears that are treated with a shaving procedure are out of competitive play for 3-4 weeks. Those with meniscal tears that need to be repaired are out from competitive plays for at least 3 to 4 months. Extensive rehabilitation is needed to optimize the range of motion and strength of the knee.

VIDEO/ANIMATION

For a video animation of “Anatomy of the Knee”, please see the “Education” tab of my website.  Click orthopaedics, then knee, then conditions, then “Anatomy of the Knee”.

For a video animation of “Meniscus Tears”, please see the “Education” tab of my website.  Click orthopaedics, then knee, then conditions, then “Meniscus Tears”.

For a video animation of “Partial Meniscectomy”, please see the “Education” tab of my website.  Click orthopaedics, then knee, then procedures, then “Partial Meniscectomy”.

For a video animation of “Meniscal Repair”, please see the “Education” tab of my website.  Click orthopaedics, then knee, then procedures, then “Meniscal Repair “.

A-rod, if he decides to have surgery, will be out for 4-6 weeks. This should give him ample time to be back for the play-offs.

Dr. P

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All material published through this blog/website is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources. Patients and consumers should review the information carefully with their professional health care provider. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Dr. Parekh and Duke University will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising from the discussions in this blog. >For more information on Duke Orthopaedics, go to: http://www.dukehealth.org/orthopaedics.

 

 

Locations

  • N.C. Orthopaedic Clinic
  • Durham Regional Hospital
  • Davis Ambulatory Surgery Center
  • Duke Hospital North
  • Duke Ambulatory Surgery Center

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