Knees, knees, knees!

Could you have a torn meniscus?

What is a torn meniscus?

Your menisci are two crescent shaped pads of shock-absorbing cartilage in your knee joint, which sit on the top of your shin bone.  One sits towards the inside edge of your knee (medial meniscus), and the other towards the outside edge (lateral meniscus).  A tear in one of these structures is referred to as a torn meniscus.

What causes it?

These tears can happen from a twisting injury, most commonly during sport in younger people.  As we age, degenerative tears can also happen.  These can occur from a minor twisting injury, or sometimes without any specific injury happening at all.

What are the symptoms?

This can vary from person to person, and the following does not rule out other causes of your knee pain. You may feel a ‘pop’ when the original injury occurs.  Following this, you may notice your knee becoming stiffer and swollen over the next couple of days.  The stiffness, or restricted range of movement may remain, and you may feel a clicking or locking sensation in your knee.  Another of the possible symptoms is your knee giving way, or the sensation that your knee is about to give way on you.

What is the treatment?

The treatment you require will depend on several factors: how severe the tear is, how much it is affecting you, and the level of activity you want to return to.  If your knee has locked, it is likely you will be referred to an orthopaedic consultant for surgery on your knee.  For less severe tears, or following surgery, the usual treatment is physiotherapy.  This will usually involve working on the strength, stability & control of your affected leg.

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