Medial meniscus tear
Within the knee there are two pieces of cartilage called the medial (inside) and lateral (outside) meniscus. They are both shaped like a semi circle. Together they provide support and cushioning for the knee joint. It is possible to tear this knee cartilage. Tears to the medial meniscus occur commonly and are often associated with ACL tears.
Twisting the knee is the most common cause of medial meniscus injury. Other causes can be in conjunction with another injury such as the ACL ligament tear. Like all cartilage it is subject to degeneration as we age. Most elderly patients with show some tearing even if asymptomatic. Individual who have had previous injuries to the knee may also show tears in the medial meniscus. There are different ways in which the cartilage can tear. Tears can include bucket handle tears, degenerative, longitudinal and radial tears.
Symptoms include gradual or sudden pain in the inside of the knee. This pain can be made worse when bending or squatting down. There may also be swelling within the knee. Swelling usually comes on slowly over 24-48 hours. As the swelling increases, the pressure in the knee can also increase. The knee may start giving way, locking or catching on movement. Tenderness can be experienced along the inside of knee joint line.
The treatment for a medial meniscus tear will depend on the type of tear. For minor tears non-surgical treatment may be advised (exercises). For larger tears surgery may be suggested to preserve as much of the remaining meniscus as possible. A comprehensive rehabilitation program under the guidance of a sports chiropractor or physiotherapist will be suggested with both minor and larger tears after surgery. Please contact Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) for more information.