Knee pain is common and can develop from many causes, including a meniscus tear, which can occur after an injury or from the degenerative changes that come with age. Proper care of a meniscus tear is essential in order to prevent or delay other knee conditions like arthritis. Dr. Paul Tortland and Dr. Jeffrey LaVallee at the New England Stem Cell Institute offer many treatments, including regenerative medicine, that can help repair and heal your meniscus tear.
The meniscus is a set of matching C-shaped cartilages in the knee joint that separate your femur (thigh bone) from your tibia (shin bone). They provide both cushion and stability for the joint. Your knee has two menisci, one on the inner knee (medial meniscus) and one on the outer knee (lateral meniscus). The medial meniscus is more commonly injured.
Meniscus tears are very common and can happen to anyone at any time. Athletes in sports that place a lot of stress on the knees, such as football, basketball, soccer, and other contact sports, are especially prone to meniscus tears.
You can also develop a meniscus tear due to the degenerative changes that happen to the cartilage over time, leading to a thinning of the connective tissue that makes it more vulnerable to injury.
A meniscus tear increases your risk of developing arthritis in the knee. But with proper treatment, you might be able to delay the joint inflammation and slow or even prevent the development of arthritis.
You might feel a popping sensation during the initial injury to your meniscus, but you might be able to continue to walk or play your sport. Over the next few days following the injury, your knee may become stiff and painful, and even swollen. Other symptoms can include:
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, our team at the New England Stem Cell Institute can determine if your knee discomfort is the result of a meniscus tear after doing an MRI.
Treatment of your meniscus tear depends on the nature of the tear, your symptoms, and your age. Younger patients with an acute meniscus tear that causes instability or locking usually need arthroscopic surgery to sew the tear. Older patients with a degenerative meniscus tear often don’t require surgery. In fact, recent studies have shown that not only does arthroscopic surgery not help the symptoms of degenerative meniscal tears, but it may actually speed up the development of joint arthritis and increase the risk of needing a total joint replacement. Therefore, surgery for symptomatic degenerative meniscal tears typically is NOT recommended.
Our team at the New England Stem Cell Institute offers regenerative medicine treatments like stem cell injections as a nonsurgical alternative for patients with degenerative meniscus tears. When injected into your knee, the stem cells promote the generation of new, healthy tissue to repair your damaged cartilage.
If you have a meniscus tear, the specialists at the New England Stem Cell Institute recommend periodic injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), a blood-derived product that contains a concentrated amount of platelets, growth factors, and specialized cells, to delay or prevent the development of arthritis in your knee.