The meniscus are two pieces of cartilage situated between the thighbone and shinbone that act as shock absorbers in your knee and help to cushion the joint.

INJURY
Meniscal Tears

ALSO KNOWN AS
Torn Meniscus

ABOUT
The meniscus are two pieces of cartilage situated between the thighbone and shinbone that act as shock absorbers in your knee and help to cushion the joint. There are many types of tears and are classified by where they tear and their appearance. Frequent tears are longitudinal, flap, bucket handle, transverse, parrot-beak, and mixed/complex.

COMMON INJURY
Torn meniscus are common sports related injuries and often accompany other injuries like ligament tears (ACL). Additionally, progressing age can be a factor due to weaken cartilage being more prone to tears.

DIAGNOSIS
Symptoms of a meniscal tear are feeling a popping sensation at the time of the injury, pain, swelling, stiffness, knee instability, loss of motion, and locking of the knee. Your physician will examine your knee and likely perform a McMurray test that puts pressure on the torn meniscus and produce a clicking sound. You may need x-rays or and MRI (magnetic resonance image) to confirm the diagnosis and full out any other additional injuries.

NON SURGICAL TREATMENT
Outer edge tears in the meniscus may only require the RICE method of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Additionally, anti-inflammatories may help with any pain and swelling.

SURGICAL TREATMENT
The type of surgery required depends on the size and location of the tear. Arthroscopy of the knee will trim or repair the tear. Meniscectomy trims away the damaged tissue that cannot heal due to low blood supply. Meniscus repair is done by stitching the tears together. Post surgery you will likely be in a cast or brace to immobilize the area and physical therapy will be needed to restore knee strength.

Meniscal Tears
Common types of tears.
Image courtesy of AAOS