A-Rod Out with Knee Surgery

Yankees slugger and third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be out 4 to 6 weeks after surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee. He will undergo surgery tomorrow at the University of Miami. A-Rod injured his knee in a game against the Chicago Cubs on June 19th. Since that time, he has been slowed on the bases and has not hit as well. According to Yankees Manager Joe Girardi, Rodriguez uses that right knee to push off when he is swinging. An MRI performed on Friday showed a small tear in the meniscus.

A meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage located in the knee joint. There are two in each knee joint. The menisci act as a buffer between the bones, protecting the joint. They serves as a shock-absorption system, assisting in lubricating the knee joint, and limiting the ability to over flex or extend the leg at the joint.

Meniscal tears are most commonly caused by twisting or over-flexing the joint and frequently happen during sports. Players may squat and twist the knee, causing a tear. Direct contact, like a tackle, may be involved.

The most common symptoms of meniscal tear are:

  • Pain
  • Clicking or popping (especially at the time of the injury)
  • Stiffness and swelling
  • Catching or locking of the knee
  • The sensation of the knee “giving way”
  • Decreased range of motion at the knee

Treatment depends on the severity of the tear. Small tears may only need “RICE” treatment (rest, ice, compression, elevation) to allow the cartilage to heal on its own. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin or ibuprofen may be added for pain relief. More serious tears usually require surgical treatment- usually done arthroscopically, where the torn cartilage is trimmed or repaired.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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