Menisci tear

Menisci tear

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

In Sports & Orthopedics, a tear of a menisci is a rupturing of one or more of the fibrocartilage strips in the knee called menisci. Menisci can be torn during innocuous activities such as walking or squatting. They can also be torn by traumatic force encountered in sports or other forms of physical exertion. The traumatic action is most often a twisting movement at the knee while the leg is bent. In older adults, the menisci can be damaged following prolonged 'wear and tear' called a degenerative tear.

A menisci tear can be classified in various ways: by anatomic location, by proximity to blood supply, etc. Various tear patterns and configurations have been described. These include:

    Radial tears.

  • Flap or parrot-beak tears.

  • Peripheral, longitudinal tears.

  • Bucket-handle tears.

  • Horizontal cleavage tears.

  • Complex, degenerative tears.

Anyone performing activities involving aggressive twisting and pivoting of the knee is at risk of a menisci tear. The risk is particularly high for athletes — especially those who participate in contact sports, such as football, or activities that involve pivoting, such as tennis or basketball. The risk of a menisci tear also increases as you get older, due to years of wear and tear on your knees.


General symptoms:

    Knee joint pain when walking.

  • Knee pain in the space between the bones; gets worse when gentle pressure is applied to the joint.

  • Locking of the knee joint.

  • Recurrent knee-catching.

  • Difficulty squatting down.

  • Swelling in the knee joint.


The Healthcare provider will perform a physical examination. This will include a knee examine called the McMurray's test and Apley's compression tests.If the diagnosis is not clear from the history and examination, the menisci can be imaged with X-ray and MRI scan. This technique has replaced previous Arthrography, which involved injecting contrast medium into the joint space. In straightforward cases, knee arthroscopy allows quick diagnosis and simultaneous treatment.


The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and protect the joint from further injury while it heals. You should not put your full weight on the knee. You may need to use crutches. You may have been given a knee brace. This helps keep your knee from moving and to help you recover.

Other treatments include:

    Ice to reduce swelling.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling and pain.

  • Physical activity is allowed, as tolerated. Physical therapy is recommended to help regain joint and leg strength.

If the injury is acute or if you have a high activity level, knee arthroscopy may be necessary. During arthroscopic surgery, your doctor inserts an instrument called an arthroscope through a tiny incision near your knee. The arthroscope contains a light and a small camera, which projects an enlarged image of the inside of your knee onto a monitor. Surgical instruments can be inserted through the arthroscope or through additional small incisions in your knee.

Recovery time following arthroscopic surgery tends to be much faster than it is for open-knee procedures. You can often go home the same day. Full recovery may take weeks or months, however, and you will need to do exercises to optimize knee strength and stability.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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