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Meniscus Tear

What is a Meniscus Tear?

A meniscus tear is a common knee injury that involves damage to one or both of the menisci, which are C-shaped wedges of cartilage that act as shock absorbers and provide stability to the knee joint. Each knee has two menisci: the medial meniscus on the inner side of the knee and the lateral meniscus on the outer side.


Meniscus tears can occur as a result of sudden twisting or rotation of the knee while bearing weight, such as during sports activities or heavy lifting. They can also develop gradually over time due to wear and tear associated with aging or degenerative conditions.


The symptoms of a meniscus tear can vary depending on the severity, location, and type of tear, but they commonly include:


  • Pain: Pain may occur at the site of the tear, often along the joint line on the inside or outside of the knee. The pain may be sudden if the tear is acute or develop gradually if it's due to degenerative changes.

  • Swelling: Swelling of the knee joint may occur within hours of the injury, particularly if there is significant bleeding into the joint space. Swelling can also develop gradually over time with chronic tears.

  • Stiffness: You may experience stiffness in the knee, making it difficult to fully bend or straighten the leg.

  • Clicking or popping: Some individuals with a meniscus tear may experience clicking, popping, or catching sensations in the knee joint, especially during movement.

  • Locking: In severe cases, a torn piece of the meniscus may move into the joint space and become trapped, causing the knee to lock or catch, limiting movement.

  • Instability: You may feel that your knee is giving way or unstable, particularly during weight-bearing activities.

Treatment options

It's important to note that not all meniscus tears cause symptoms, and some tears may improve with conservative treatment such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), along with physical therapy. However, more significant tears or those causing persistent symptoms may require surgical intervention, such as arthroscopic surgery to trim or repair the torn meniscus. If you suspect you have a meniscus tear or are experiencing symptoms consistent with this injury, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

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