Posted on: February 6, 2015
By Dr. Victor Khabie
I recently spoke with Jason Beck, a writer for MLB.com about Detroit Tiger Victor Martinez’ torn meniscus.
A torn meniscus is one of the three most common sports-related knee injuries. Made of cartilage, the meniscus is the knee’s “shock absorber,” and a tear causes pain and dysfunction. Another common knee injury is to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a key ligament stabilizing the knee. And lastly, a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL), which keeps the tibia (shinbone) in place, usually consists of a partial tear.
There are two types of surgeries that can be done to repair a torn meniscus: The first, a partial meniscectomy which is a minor surgery where a small piece of the meniscus is clipped. The average recovery time for this procedure is four to six weeks. The other option would be reattachment surgery, which is more complex and recovery could take months.
The determining factors for which surgery is selected are where the meniscus is torn, and how much of the meniscus is broken. Age also plays a role.
If you’ve experienced a knee injury and if after two or three days, your knee is swollen; you are limping; you can’t put your full weight on the leg; or you are in pain seek care immediately. Your first stop should be the ER for an x-ray, to determine if there’s a break or fracture. Whatever the outcome, you should see an orthopedic specialist without delay. Knee injuries often require surgical repair, and can even have long-term effects.
At Northern Westchester Hospital, we treat the full range of sports-related knee injuries with the most advanced surgical procedures and rehabilitative physical therapies. The three injuries mentioned here require different treatment, and we are deeply experienced in each. An injured ACL must be surgically replaced with new ligament taken from the patient’s own body. An MCL injury normally heals with physical therapy, while a meniscus tear requires surgical repair.
Victor Khabie, MD, FAAOS, FACS, received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed a fellowship in sports medicine at the world-renowned Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, where he served as assistant team physician to professional sports teams including the LA Lakers, Dodgers, Kings, Mighty Ducks, LA Sparks, and the USC Trojan football team.