What is a Meniscus Tear, and how is it treated?

Apr 28, 2023 | Articles, Blog

A meniscus tear is one of the most common knee injuries. This type of injury can happen to anyone at any time when they twist or rotate the knee too forcefully. Due to the injury’s commonality, the treatment thereof is straightforward and mostly minimal or non-invasive.

What is a Meniscus?

The meniscus is situated in the knee joint between the tibia (lower leg bone) and the femur (thigh bone). It is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that helps cushion the knee joint and protects the lower part of the leg from shock caused by your body weight.

A meniscus tear usually happens when a patient twists or rotates the knee when their foot is placed firmly on the ground with a bent knee and the upper leg is then forcefully moved. This type of injury is common in active people playing contact sports and sports that require a lot of jumping. Older patients are especially at risk for a meniscus tear as the cartilage weakens with age.  

Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear

The symptoms of a meniscus tear may take some time, even up to 24 hours, to present themselves. It is essential that if you have experienced a knee injury or if you suspect a knee injury such as a meniscus tear, you check for possible signs and symptoms. Symptoms of a meniscus tear include:

  1. Swelling and stiffness of the joint.
  2. Pain when moving or twisting the knee.
  3. Difficulty in straightening your leg.
  4. Feeling that you can’t move your knee, that it is almost locked into place.
  5. Not being able to put your weight on the affected leg.

A meniscus tear is diagnosed by a doctor through a thorough evaluation of the knee, using methods such as X-rays and MRIs.

Treatment for a Meniscus Tear

Treatment of a meniscus tear may vary due to the severity of the tear, the age of the patient and their overall level of activity. Most meniscus tears can be treated with non-invasive treatment or minimally invasive procedures depending on the severity of the injury. It is essential though, that you see your doctor for a diagnosis and the correct treatment plan.

Possible treatment for a meniscus tear includes:

  1. Rest: limit all physical activities as much as possible.
  2. Ice: place ice on your knee to alleviate swelling and pain.
  3. Compress: use an elastic bandage to control swelling of the knee.
  4. Elevate: whenever possible, place your foot onto a pillow to raise your knee.
  5. Anti-inflammatory: anti-inflammatory medications will help alleviate pain and swelling.

As the most common type of knee injury, a meniscus tear can happen to anyone at almost any time, thus it is essential that if you have injured your knee, you consult your doctor to determine what the correct and most efficient course of treatment will be. For more information, have a look at our FAQ page and contact us for an appointment.