Martha Jefferson Monday: What Happens if you Tear Your Meniscus - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: What Happens if you Tear Your Meniscus?

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The threat of a meniscus tear is important to be aware of, especially for people who are active, and those who exercise often or are involved in sports.

"The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that's like a bumper inside your knee," said Dr. Matthew Panzarella, a physician at Atlantic Coast Orthopedic Specialists. "It's between the femur bone, which is your thighbone, and your lower leg bone, the tibia. It's a c-shaped disc and it prevents the cartilage on the ends of the bone from seeing a lot of force when you are walking, running or jumping."

Most commonly the meniscus tears from doing deep squatting motions.

"When you squat down or when you bend down, or when you do a twisting movement while you're squatting is when they typically occur," said Dr. Panzarella.

Tears are also possible in older people, but they are typically degenerative tears, meaning a small tear gets worse over time.

If you have a torn meniscus, typically you'll feel pain in the back or side of your knee. Depending on the severity of the tear, you have a few options to fix the problem. For small tears, doctors can simply remove the portion that's hurt.

"We go in arthroscopically, so it a minimally invasive procedure. With the guidance of a camera, and just a few poke holes in the skin we can get to the meniscus and trim out the torn portion," commented Dr. Panzarella.

The second option is for doctors to stitch the tear back together.

"For larger tears, or for people who are younger, we use some sutures and needles to go through the meniscus and sew it back together."

For more information on this topic, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.

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