Star nose guard for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team will miss the rest of the season as well as their bowl game after undergoing knee surgery on November 21st. Nix had a torn meniscus in his left knee that had been bothering him for almost a year now. He was able to play through the symptoms of a torn meniscus for almost an entire season, but it became apparent that surgery was the best option after consulting with expert orthopedic surgeons. These doctors found that it was in the best interest of Nix’s health to surgically repair the meniscus before the end of the season. Louis Nix has received an elite level of care for his injury, similar to that provided at Knee Surgery Center of Excellence.
What is a Meniscus Tear?
The meniscus is a ‘C’ shaped disc made of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the thigh and shinbone. The meniscus is responsible for bearing the stress and force placed on the knee during physical activity. Meniscus tears are a very common type of knee injury in athletes. When someone plays a contact-sport, they are at an increased risk of tearing their meniscus. People of all ages and physical activity levels can tear they’re meniscus, as these tears are not limited to athletes.
Meniscus tears are commonly repaired with surgery, although non-surgical treatment is possible. In Nix’s case, the damage to the meniscus was severe enough that further health implications could result down the road if unrepaired. The decision to undergo surgery rests largely on the extent of the tear and the desired future activity level. As an NFL prospect with a bright future in football, Nix’s meniscus had to be repaired
How Does a Meniscus Tear Occur?
The meniscus can be torn in a variety of circumstances. In contact sports like football, a hard hit to the knees can be the cause of a tear. Outside blows to the knee can cause damage to the meniscus as well as the knee ligaments. It’s common for ligaments like the ACL to tear along with the meniscus. An outside blow, however, is not necessary for a meniscus to tear. The meniscus can tear from an awkward knee twist, or a hard landing. When the foot is planted in the ground and the knee twists, excess stress is placed on the structures and ligaments inside the knee which can result in tearing. It is not uncommon for an athlete to suffer this type of injury on the field or court without any outside contact. The same goes for non-athletes as well. These tears can happen to people while performing even normal, everyday activities.
How are Meniscus Tears Treated?
Meniscus tears are classified by which part of the meniscus is torn and the condition/severity of the tear. This classification is aimed at helping the physician determine the most suitable treatment option. Desired activity level, age, and the presence of other injuries are also factored in when forming a treatment plan.
These types of injuries can be treated with or without a surgical procedure. This decision depends on the classification of the injury and other factors surrounding the individual case. Physical therapy, a prescribed at-home treatment plan, and over-the-counter medications may sometimes be all that is needed to treat a meniscus tear. Non-surgical treatments are more common in older patients that don’t participate in physically demanding activities.
For younger patients, athletes, and physically active adults, surgery is most commonly used to treat the tear. Arthroscopic knee surgery is the most widely used surgical procedure for repairing the structures inside the knee. Arthroscopic knee surgery is performed through small incisions with the use of a special camera that is inserted into the knee. The patient will begin a rehabilitation program following surgery in order to regain strength, mobility, and full use of the knee. The success rate of this type of surgery is very high.
Although Louis Nix will not be on the field to finish out Notre Dame’s season, he will undoubtedly make a full recovery and continue on with his promising career. Nix was afforded a high level of care similar to that at Knee Surgery Center of Excellence, giving him the best odds of maintaining a structurally-sound knee going forward.
Contact an Orthopedic Surgeon at Knee Surgery Center of Excellence
If you have suffered a knee surgery in Los Angeles, contact the experts at Knee Surgery Center of Excellence today. Our doctors offer the latest and most advanced surgical techniques for knee reconstruction, getting you back on your feet in no time. To schedule a consultation with one of our talented orthopedic surgeons, call (888) 429-6865 or fill out our contact form.