Meniscus Injuries

Introduction/ What is?

Meniscus tears are one of the most common knee injuries. 

The menisci (plural for meniscus) are “shock-absorbers” in your knee and are found within the knee joint, between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia).

Twisting injuries to the knee can cause the menisci to rip.

What are the symptoms?

The common symptoms of meniscus tears are:

  1. Dull ache of the knee after the injury
  2. Swelling of the knee, often occurring 12 – 24 hours after the injury
  3. Pain with certain movements of the knee especially when bearing weight (eg squatting or running)
  4. Sudden inability to fully straighten the knee (also known as “locking”)
  5. Popping or clicking sensation in the knee with movements
  6. A feeling that the knee is not stable
  7. Sensation of something shifting inside the knee with movements
Anatomy/ Pathology

The knee is a hinged joint formed between the thigh-bone (femur) and the shin-bone (tibia). The meniscus is a c-shaped cartilage located between the 2 bones at the periphery of the knee joint. They act as “shock absorbers” within the joint. There are 2 menisci (plural for meniscus) in each knee.

What caused it?

Twisting of the knee whilst weight bearing is the most common cause. Sometimes, however, the injury can be cumulative. Some patients ignore mild pain and discomfort in their knees and go about their sports and activities. Then finally even a mundane movement like stepping up a high step or walking can cause the compromised meniscus to tear.  

Can it heal?

Some tears that occur close to the periphery of the meniscus can heal. Those that occur on the inner rim cannot heal.

What tests can be done to diagnose this?

An MRI scan is by far the best way to detect presence of a meniscus tear.

What treatment options are there?

Small, minor tears causing minimal symptoms can be observed and treated with physiotherapy.

More serious tears often require surgery to address. This involves either trimming the meniscus to smoothen it out, or repair using stitches or both. 

The surgery is a minimally-invasive keyhole surgery.