What is a Meniscus Tear?
The Meniscus is a small C-shaped cartilage that cushions the knee joint and can become torn due to injury. There are two Menisci that sit between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) with one on the inside (medial) as well as outside (lateral).
Meniscal tear symptoms include:
- Clicking or popping sounds during movement
- Limited range of movement
- Locking sensation (inability to straighten the knee)
- Pain on either side of the knee
- Swelling at the joint line area
- Tenderness along the joint line
Though meniscal tears can often heal on their own, surgical procedures may be prescribed to speed up the recovery of those tears. Otherwise, the RICE protocol of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation is sufficient.
- Compression to prevent additional swelling, wear an elastic compression bandage
- Elevation to reduce swelling, recline when you rest, and put your leg up higher than your heart
- Ice as cold packs on the injury for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which will reduce pain and swelling
- Rest that allows you to take a break from the activity that caused the injury
If surgery is needed to repair or remove the pieces of the torn meniscus, this is usually done by arthroscopy (keyhole surgery).