Tar Heels Lose Reggie Bullock for the Season
13th ranked, University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels, will continue the rest of the season without reserve Reggie Bullock. Bullock tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee during UNC’s victory on Sunday against Maryland. What is the meniscus and what role does it play?
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.
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.
Not all meniscal tears cause symptoms. However, symptoms can include pain, swelling, clicking, popping, or even catching.
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.
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 “.
Bullock will be out for the remainder of this season, but I am sure we will see him ready for action next year.
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