Meniscus Injuries of the Knee
The menisci are crescent structures that act as a cushion between the femur and the tibia. The medial meniscus is on the inside of the knee and the lateral on the outside.
These structures absorb a considerable amount of compressive load from the medial and lateral femoral condyles (50% and 70% respectively)
The menisci have a degree of mobility which allows the tibia to roll and glide back on the femur during flexion.
Medial tears tend to be related to a stable knee joint, while lateral meniscal tears may be concurrent with damage to the anterior cruciate ligament.
Meniscus tears usually occur as a result of twisting of the weight bearing knee. They might be as a result of trauma, but not always.
Longitudinal tears are common among athletes, and may be disabling. They may be part of a more severe knee injury involving the collateral or cruciate ligaments. They are usually caused by a twisting movement with a flexed knee and planted foot.
The knee may appear swollen, will be painful and there will be limitation of movement in the knee.
Patients may describe a pop or a sensation of tearing when the injury occurs, while swelling may occur one or two days post injury.
Patients may experience a clicking feeling in the knee, and locking may occur before completion of the extension movement. This would tend to indicate a bucket handle or large flap tear.
Some minors tears are treated using the RICE regime and Non Steroidal ant-Inflammatory drugs, while, depending on the nature and severity, more serious tears may require surgical repair or meniscectomy.
Published: July 8, 2011
Meniscus Knee Treatments