DANGERS OF PLAYING THROUGH MENISCUS TEARS

Mississippi State’s Darius Slay recently suffered a torn meniscus that has doctors and sports fans alike questioning his future. Previously expected to be a first-round draft pick, Slay is now facing possible surgery and rehab to repair the tear and regain strength and range-of-motion in the knee. However, some doctors suggest that the college cornerback can play through the injury without undergoing surgery.

A board certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Millstein cautions meniscus tear patients against returning to play too soon after injury. If you have suffered a meniscus tear or another knee injury, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Millstein for a consultation.

What Is a Meniscus Tear?

Often occurring during high-impact sports like football and basketball, meniscus tears may result from fast starting, stopping, jumping and pivoting as well as trauma to the knee. A cushion in the knee joint, the meniscus helps the knee absorb shocks and remain stable. However, this tissue can weaken with age and activity. People who have experienced a meniscus tear often notice a popping sound at the time of injury as well as pain, stiffness and instability. Without treatment, the injury may restrict range of motion and lead to additional problems.

Treatment for a Meniscus Tear

Although a meniscus tear is a serious injury, some doctors advise athletes to “play through the pain” rather than undergo surgery. A sports medicine doctor with unique expertise in injuries of the knee, Dr. Millstein warns athletes against “playing through the pain” in the wake of a meniscus injury. Without surgery, meniscus tears often become larger. Further, fragments of the meniscus can injure the knee cartilage, a situation that results in pain and may raise your risk of developing arthritis. For most, but not all active people suffering from meniscus tears, surgery is the best way to alleviate pain and regain range of motion in the knee. Due to poor blood supply, the meniscus has very limited healing potential. However, some people are fortunate in that their meniscus tear does heal or remains torn but does not cause pain or disability.

Dr. Millstein specializes in minimally invasive and arthroscopic surgical techniques to repair meniscus tears. Performed on an outpatient basis, meniscus tear surgery involves the insertion of a camera and small instruments through several tiny incisions in the knee. After examining the extent of the damage, Dr. Millstein will remove the damaged tissue while preserving healthy meniscus or, in very specific situations, specialized suturing instruments are used to repair the meniscus. Surgery usually takes less than an hour and offers a high rate of recovery.

In most cases, physical therapy is essential to restoring range-of-motion and rebuilding muscle strength. Patients may need to wear a knee brace and keep the leg elevated for a period of time. After undergoing meniscus tear surgery, patients should take care to follow all of Dr. Millstein’s recommendations for rehabilitating the knee.

Contact Los Angeles Surgeon Dr. Millstein

Dr. Millstein completed an Orthopedic Fellowship in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute and is the recipient of numerous awards including Castle Connolly’s Top Doctor award and the prestigious Patients’ Choice Award. If you have suffered a meniscus tear, or another serious knee injury, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Millstein at (310) 595-1030. Seeking immediate medical treatment is the best way to get you back to the activities you love, both on and off the field.

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Dr. Millstein

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