What is a meniscus tear?

Amongst injuries to the knee joint, a meniscus tear is one of the most common.

Any activity that requires forced twisting or rotation to the knee can lead to a torn meniscus. It is also often associated with another injury to the knee, such as a torn ACL.

If you are experiencing knee pain and discomfort, you might be wondering if the cause could be a meniscus injury.

Here’s what you need to know about your meniscus, symptoms of injury and how it can be treated.

What is my meniscus?

Each of your knee joints has two menisci, or C-shaped pieces of tough cartilage (called fibrocartilage) that act as shock absorbers between your shinbone and thighbone. Your menisci have an important role in distributing load and assisting rotation stability in your knee joint, helping support movement and protect your knee from injury.

What is a meniscus tear?

A meniscus tear is usually caused by a twisting of the knee or degeneration, or breakdown, of the cartilage. In some cases, a piece of the meniscus can break loose and catch in the knee joint, which can cause it to lock up.

Meniscus tears are common many different sports that require quick change of direction movements and jumping actions, such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer and netball.

In some cases, a torn meniscus requires surgical repair.

What are the symptoms of a meniscus tear?

The symptoms you experience from a meniscus tear are similar to an ACL rupture. If you feel any of the below symptoms, you might need to see a doctor to determine whether it’s caused by a tear in your meniscus.

  • A popping sensation in your knee.
  • Swelling and lack of mobility in the knee joint.
  • Pain, especially when you twist your knee.
  • Difficulty extending your knee fully.

How will my doctor diagnose a meniscus tear?

Your doctor will examine your knee and may use a non-invasive MRI to determine if you have a torn meniscus.

How can I treat my meniscus tear?

Treatment of a meniscus tear depends on the size and location of your tear as well as your overall health. If your injury is minor, you may be able to treat it with physiotherapy. In some cases, surgical repair is required to get you moving again, pain-free.

If you suspect you have a meniscus tear, one of the best things you can do is get a full understanding of your condition and treatment options. Dr Stuart MacKenzie, one of the top Orthopaedic Surgeons in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, has created a free specialist e-guide on Meniscus Injuries to help you get started.

Meniscus Injuries Download CTA

21 Apr 2020

Published by Stuart MacKenzie

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