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At Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, several of our orthopedic surgeons specialize in meniscal tears. The Slocum Center has been providing care for knee conditions for more than forty years. That means your treatment will be provided by a team whose experience is virtually unmatched in Eugene, the surrounding areas of Oregon, and throughout the Northwest.

One of the most commonly injured parts of the knee is the meniscus. Each knee has two of these C-shaped wedge-like cartilage cushions: an inner (medial) and an outer (lateral) meniscus. These gristle-like tissues provide cushion to the joint and also assist the ligaments to stabilize the knee.


Athletes may tear the meniscus by twisting, pivoting, cutting or decelerating. Meniscal tears may occur in conjunction with other injuries such as ligament or articular cartilage damage. With age, natural degenerative changes occur in the meniscus that can evolve into tears in the absence of any major injury. These are called degenerative meniscal tears. Symptoms of a meniscal tear may include swelling, pain, catching, or locking sensations in the knee joint.


Initial treatment of a suspected injury follows the basic RICE formula: rest, ice, compression to control swelling, and elevation. Some minor meniscal injuries may heal spontaneously or become asymptomatic over time. Lingering pain, swelling or the presence of mechanical symptoms such as catching and locking should prompt medical evaluation. Arthroscopic surgery may be required to resolve symptoms depending on factors such as tear type, location, patient age and activity level and the presence of coexisting arthritis. Some types of meniscus tears can be surgically repaired. However, the majority of meniscus tears occur in regions of the meniscus with poor healing potential due to minimal blood supply. These are treated by trimming out the damaged fragments and leaving healthy tissue behind.

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