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Aliesha's Journey Back to Health and Happiness After a Meniscus Root Tear

Being active is a major part of Aliesha Bruno's life. As a healthcare worker who spends 10 to 12 hours on her feet for work shifts, as well as a mom of two and a friend to many, Aliesha moves a lot! It was a shock when, the morning after dancing her heart out during a friend's birthday party the night before, she woke up with a harsh tightness in her left knee.


Aliesha had torn her meniscus in her right knee in the past, but her left knee had never before given her problems, until this time. The meniscus is the cushioning cartilage between the shin bone and the thigh bone, and can be torn if twisted too far with pressure being put on it.

Aleisha says, “I was shocked that I had injured myself because there was no moment that I had determined I injured my knee. I came home and was just fine, but getting out of bed the next day, it just felt very tight and very sore close up on my knee.”

Her Diagnosis: A Meniscus Root Tear

Thinking her knee pain must have just been a sprain that needed time to heal, Aliesha waited about a month before making an appointment with Dr. Van Thiel. Her pain had become excruciating. Dr. Van Thiel ordered an MRI, which showed a root meniscus tear had occurred in her left knee- a tear at the anchor point of the meniscus.

What Causes Meniscus Root Tears?

Root meniscus tears are unlike typical meniscus tears because they can happen during the most ordinary circumstances. Walking, going down steps, or in Aliesha’s case- dancing at a party- can cause root meniscus tears, even if one does not feel anything twist or pop in a negative way in the knee. However, if not treated, root meniscus tears can cause severe long-term pain and dysfunction in the knee.

Aliesha’s Procedure and Recovery

In Dr. Van Thiel’s office, surgery is always the last resort choice if possible, so Aliesha received multiple cortisone injections to see if those would ease the pain in her knee. After no improvement in her pain, Aliesha and Dr. Van Thiel decided to schedule knee surgery for her root meniscus repair in December of 2021.

After three months of physical therapy and healing time, Aliesha was back on her feet at work and at home. Today, Aliesha says, “I can do all my normal activities and get through my work day without thinking twice about anything. I come home after a 10 to 12-hour shift and am not sore – It’s awesome.”

Time to Dance Again


Aliesha was elated to finally be pain-free, after her knee pain had caused her to go into a depression and limited her ability to live life in a way that made her happy. When describing her experience at Dr. Van Thiel’s office, she says, “I highly recommend Dr. Van Thiel to anybody. I love his approach of really wanting us as patients to be able to get back to our normal lives as soon as possible.”

Today, Aliesha is back in action with all of her hobbies, from dancing to playing with her kids, working in the garden, spending quality time with her friends, and volunteering in her community, without pain.

Aliesha says, “By the time I was done with physical therapy, I felt strong. I had a lot of my range of motion back. Now, it's been just shy of nine months since my surgery and I don't feel like it holds me back at all. It feels freeing.”

Meniscus tears and meniscus root tears do not need to harm your long-term life satisfaction.

If you are experiencing long-term knee pain, contact our team at Orthoillinois today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Van Thiel.

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