Saturday, July 9, 2011

A-Rod's Meniscal Tear Explained

The Yankees announced today that Alexander Rodriguez has a slight meniscal tear in his right knee.  If he elects to have surgery, he may miss up to a month of this season recovering.

That is the same right leg that had surgery back in May, 2009, for a torn labrum.

Even a slightly torn meniscus can cause sharp, stabbing pains in the knee.  Rodriguez said he injured the knee back on June 19 in Chicago.  He was on third base when a wild pitch was thrown.  He made a move to go towards home, but decided against it.  When he turned back to third, that's when he felt the knee pain.

Treatment for a small meniscal tear can involve either rest or surgery.  Obviously, since A-Rod is a professional athlete, the sooner the issue is resolved the better.  Any type of twisting motion with that knee would result in pain: swinging a bat, running the bases, fielding his third base position.

Options for surgery can include either removing the torn portion of the meniscus, or repairing it.  If the tear is truly a slight, small one, simply trimming it off would allow A-Rod back into the lineup much faster than a repair.  Repairs are done for more major tears, can take months to recover, and have a 20% failure rate.

A-Rod will most likely have the meniscal tear torn off, which is what will allow him a relative quick return to playing.  However, down the road, he will develop (if he already doesn't have it), arthritis in that knee as a result of losing part of the meniscus.

Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves also has a small meniscal tear in his knee and is set to miss 2-3 weeks after surgery to remove the torn piece.


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