A medial meniscus tear or lateral meniscus tear can be painful and impair your mobility. In the past, even meniscus tear surgery didn’t promise a sure cure for the condition that affects your knee and the protective cartilage that allows you to move and safely support your body weight. But meniscus tear treatment that relies on regenerative therapies is ideal and may actually lead to a total rebuilding of your damaged meniscus.
Your meniscus is a tiny piece of rubbery cartilage inside your knee joint that you probably didn’t even know was there before you tore it. Your meniscus acts as a shock absorber for your knee. It also helps to stabilize and protect it.
Each of your knees has two c-shaped menisci. These add support to your knee by spreading your weight evenly across it and keeping it in its proper place. Your meniscus can rupture or tear because of overuse or traumatic injury. A meniscus tear is extremely painful and can severely limit your mobility.
Without your meniscus, your knee can’t function as it should. There were serious drawbacks to existing treatments. Fortunately, regenerative medicine is changing the way people view orthopedic injury.
Not All Tears Are Created Equal
As with most types of orthopedic tears, there are varying degrees of injury. These are defined by their nature and location:
- Minor tears may improve on their own with rest.
- Moderate tears may improve after a few weeks of physical therapy.
- Severe tears are painful. In some cases, pieces of your ruptured meniscus can actually lodge in your knee joint and affect its function.
Since each knee has two menisci, it’s possible to injure one and not the other. A medial meniscus tear affects the one on the inside of your knee joint. A lateral meniscus tear happens to the one on the outside of your knee joint.
The Signs Become Clear
Given all the stress and pressure on your knees, it’s no surprise that your meniscus is subject to wear and tear. And while this makes athletes and the elderly especially prone to meniscus injuries, a lateral meniscus tear or a medial meniscus tear can happen to anybody. Symptoms commonly associated with the condition include:
- Limited and reduced mobility
- Your knee giving out or locking up
- Pain in the very middle or either side of your knee joint
- Popping or catching in your knee
Your meniscus could split in half, be ripped around its circumference, or be left hanging from your knee joint by the smallest thread of tissue. It’s also possible to have an older tear go unnoticed, only to be aggravated years later by something as simple as stumbling over a broken sidewalk. Since even minor tears can become a problem in later years, new therapies are gaining praise because they actually heal and strengthen damaged tissue, drastically reducing the risk of re-injury.
The Old Ways
Previous meniscus tear treatment was limited. Steroids used to be the go-to treatment for meniscus damage and meniscus tear surgery was your last resort. But neither of these treatments can repair your meniscus. It’s very difficult for your meniscus to heal because the tissue doesn’t get much blood supply.
Meniscus tear surgery has been called into question because it involves the partial or complete removal of your meniscus. This leaves your knee without its needed support and protection. In time, this increases your risk of knee degeneration and osteoarthritis.
Without your meniscus, it’s easy to become dependent on corticosteroid injections, which can damage healthy tissue. If you’re dealing with a meniscus tear, be aware of the consequences of having your meniscus removed and understand the risks associated with corticosteroid injections.
Some New Alternatives
Stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma injections offer a minimally invasive alternative to meniscus tear surgery. And they often require a single treatment as opposed to the lifetime of ongoing treatment with corticosteroid injections.
Experienced stem cell specialists use regenerative therapy to heal the underlying cause of your pain. What makes this the ideal treatment for meniscus tears is the limited amount of blood flow to that area. Your body has a hard time delivering the necessary blood and healing agents to this part of your body under even the best of conditions. An injury to this area complicates matters further.
Natural Healing with a Little Help
Meniscus tear treatment with stem cell therapy for knees is simple and effective. Your treatment begins with bone marrow and blood being drawn separately with a thin needle. The stem cells and platelet rich plasma are then concentrated in preparation for your injections.
The injection is a super dose of your body’s own healing agents delivered directly to your meniscus and the surrounding area. Your knees are not only injured, but already deprived of the benefits of your stem cells and platelets because of the limited blood flow. The entire outpatient procedure can be completed in about an hour and can impact the rest of your life.
Not for Everybody
Regenerative medicine is beneficial to everybody, regardless of age or activity level. There are, however, some issues that may exclude you from treatment with stem cells or platelet rich plasma:
- If you’ve had leukemia or other types of blood-borne cancer within the last five years
- If you currently suffer from certain other blood-borne diseases
- If you have an active infection or other condition that may be spread by injection
- If you’re pregnant
- If you are anemic
- If you’re taking blood thinners that can’t be discontinued
Your NYC pain management specialist can discuss your specifics and determine whether you’re a good candidate for regenerative medicine. Since meniscus tear treatments use your own blood and stem cells, associated risks are extremely low and there is virtually no risk of your body rejecting its own healing components.
Stop Waiting Around
Meniscus tears and other orthopedic injuries get progressively worse over time. You aren’t doing yourself any good by simply waiting around and hoping for the best. You run the risk of seriously complicating your condition.
The pain from a medial meniscus tear or a lateral meniscus tear can last for years. Regenerative therapy can heal damage, restore nerve function, improve circulation, restore your mobility and strengthen your knee. Stop suffering from your injury. Contact Dr. Leon Reyfman, a NY pain management physician, to get back to an active lifestyle.