Knee Locking Up? Meniscus Tear May be the Cause
If your knee is locking up, you may have a meniscus tear. A tear of the medial or lateral meniscus is one of the most common problems seen as a Houston knee surgeon.
The meniscus is a structure in the knee. There is one on each side of the knee and either one can be torn. The meniscus is also known as the ”cartilage”.
The meniscus fits between the bones and has three functions:
The typical symptoms of a meniscus tear are pain, swelling, and knee locking up or catching feeling in the knee.
See the videos of the normal medial meniscus and a normal lateral meniscus in the videos below.
Diagnosing & Treating a Meniscus Tear
Medical Meniscus Tear Corrected
Arthroscopic Meniscus Correction Surgery
A meniscus tear is first diagnosed by a doctor examining the knee and looks for swelling, specific tenderness and other tests. A MRI is frequently done to attempt to confirm the diagnosis of the doctor. MRI is 75-90% accurate in trying to determine what is wrong in the knee. It is not 100% accurate.
The treatment for a meniscus tear causing problems such as knee lock up, pain and swelling is arthroscopic surgery. Every effort is made to save as much of the meniscus as possible. In acute, fresh tears the meniscus is frequently repaired with sutures placed arthroscopically. In longstanding tears or chronic tears some or most of the meniscus is removed, trying to save as much of it as possible.
If a repair is performed, the patient will have to stay off the leg on crutches for three weeks. If a removal of some type is performed, the patient can bear full weight as soon as possible.
A meniscus tear is treated with arthroscopic surgery. This entails a short general anesthetic, three very tiny incisions on the knee and the patient goes home from outpatient surgery the same day. Rehabilitation can be started immediately.
See the photographs on the right of a meniscus tear and a meniscus that has been surgically corrected and removed and see the video of actual arthroscopic meniscus surgery on the right.
If your knee is locking up, contact Dr. Likover. A knee surgeon in Houston, he can diagnose the problem and provide the treatment you need.