Is a meniscus tear career-ending?

Professional athletes in North Carolina run the risk of sustaining serious injuries while competing with their teams or within their leagues. While athletes certainly face a risk of sustaining potentially career-ending injuries on the field, they also have risks of injury off the field while engaging in other common activities, including driving. One common type of injury to the knee called a meniscus tear could potentially end an athlete’s career if it is not promptly and properly treated.

What is a meniscus tear?

The meniscus is a cartilage disc that cushions the bones of the knee. This disc can be torn when the knee is sharply twisted while playing sports, running, being involved in a car accident, or even simply stepping wrong while walking. The ability of the meniscus to heal properly depends on the severity of the tear and its location. If the tear is located on the inner portion of the meniscus, it will take a much longer time to heal because of the limited blood supply to that region. For athletes, a meniscus tear can be season-ending. However, meniscus tears do not have to be career-ending injuries as long as the sufferers are promptly diagnosed and treated and follow all of the doctor’s recommendations.

Treatment for meniscus tears

The treatment for meniscus tears depends on their severity and location. Small tears on the outside of the meniscus might only require physical therapy to aid the healing process. However, tears on the inner portion of the meniscus will likely require surgical intervention to repair. Severe meniscus tears will also require knee surgery and potential transplants.

With prompt treatment, meniscus tears will not necessarily be career-ending injuries. However, athletes who suffer meniscus tears should also make sure that they follow all of their doctors’ recommendations for follow-up care, including physical therapy and avoiding rejoining their sports teams before their knees have had enough time to fully heal.

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