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Meniscus Tear Versus ACL Tear

People who play sports that involve jumping, quick turns, and sudden stops are at a greater risk of two common knee injuries. Meniscus tears and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears occur among athletes, and though they share some similarities, they are different injuries. 

At Orthocenter, our team of health care professionals can help you regardless of whether you’ve torn your meniscus, your ACL, or both. Take a moment to learn what you can expect as far as treatment and recovery for each injury. 

The structure of your knee

Your knee is an amazing and complex joint. It carries your body weight, allows you to walk, run, jump, and even sit. Your mobility and agility depend at least in part on your knees. 

In order to discuss meniscus and ACL tears, you need to first know a little bit about how your knee is structured. It’s the joint that connects your femur, the bone in your thigh, to your tibia, or your shin bone. Your kneecap protects the joint like a shield, and you have two menscii, tough, C-shaped bands of cartilage cushioning your joint on the inside and the outside. 

Your ACL is a thick ligament that connects the femur and tibia. When your ACL ruptures or tears completely apart, your knee joint loses stability. 

Treating meniscus tears

The best treatment for a torn meniscus depends on several factors, including how badly and where it’s torn. In some cases, rest and ice in combination with medication are sufficient for your meniscus to heal. 

Orthocenter offers regenerative procedures that are often effective in helping your body heal a meniscus tear. Arthroscopy, a minimally invasive form of surgery, may be an option for a meniscus tear that’s more severe.

Treating ACL tears

Similar to a meniscus tear, the most appropriate treatment for an ACL tear depends on the severity of the tear. Immediate first aid, including the classic RICE protocol — rest, ice, compression, and elevation — can ease the pain and swelling. 

In some cases, rehabilitation and bracing allow your tear to heal and for you to carry on with your daily activities. 

Although ACL tears occur frequently in athletes, people who are only occasionally active, people who are overweight, or people who are mostly sedentary are also at a greater risk. Often people in those situations are successful with rehabilitation and bracing. 

Surgery is necessary in many cases to reconstruct the ACL. If you’re an athlete, or if your knee continues to buckle during normal activities, you may need surgery. Also, if you have both a torn meniscus and a torn ACL, surgery may be your best option. 


Both meniscus tears and ACL tears are serious injuries that require healing and a lengthy recovery. Along with your treatment, you may need to learn exercises and stretches to help strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint, as well as help you regain strength lost to your injury. 

Your unique knee

Every knee joint is as unique as the person it supports, and every injury is different. When you see an expert at Orthocenter, you get a thorough exam, and you provide an extensive medical history so they can evaluate your situation carefully in the context of your life. Only after those critical steps do we suggest a treatment plan. 

If you have questions about your treatment options for a knee injury, book an appointment at Orthocenter today. We have several locations, and you can schedule at the one most convenient for you by phone or by sending a message to our team online

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