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Meniscus tears are the most common knee injuries and occur in either the medial or lateral meniscus. Tears often occur as a result of a twisting motion resulting in pain, swelling, and/or a “catching” or “locking” sensation. If the physical exam points toward a torn meniscus, an MRI can be ordered for confirmation. Initially, treatment is conservative with rest, ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or “NSAIDs” (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc), and may be followed up with physical therapy to help build strength and improve range of motion. In the past, arthroscopic surgery has been used to clean up the meniscus but this tends to further degenerate the joint and cause more problems down the road. Here at RAPS, we offer an alternative, non-surgical intervention using super concentrated platelets (SCP) to fill in the defect. Through the use of ultrasound guidance, the tear can be precisely treated with an injection of the patient’s own cells, allowing the tear to heal naturally. This can be done easily with local anesthetic in an outpatient setting.

Another common injury is an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear. This occurs as the result of a quick deceleration, hyperextension or rotational injury oftentimes due to a sudden change in direction. Patients commonly describe a popping sensation followed by deep pain and swelling, and often times some instability. The ACL functions by keeping the tibia (shin bone) from sliding forward on the femur (thigh bone). Depending on the extent of the tear (seen on the MRI) and level of instability, conservative care may include physical therapy and a knee brace. Once again, this type of injury can also be repaired through stem cell injections under ultrasound guidance. As a partner of Regenexx®, we provide this non-surgical treatment option to help heal and stabilize the joint.

Similarly, the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) can tear. This is less common than an ACL tear and can occur alone or in conjunction with other ligamentous injuries. The PCL functions by stabilizing the knee so that the joint doesn’t move backwards too far. The mechanism of injury involves a force to the anterior tibia (shine bone) when the knee is flexed.An MRI will provide diagnostic confirmation. This too can be treated with options from rest, bracing, therapy, traditional surgery, and regenerative injections with platelets or stem cells.

In conclusion, you can try to do everything you can to prevent injuries from happening, but when they occur, you have to assess which treatment option works best for you. By looking at the pros and cons of each option, make sure you choose the direction of treatment in which you feel most comfortable. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 412-963-6480 or visit our website to learn about what knee conditions we treat! We all want you to get back to doing what you love!

– Melissa Erin, PA-C