The meniscus is a c-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee that acts s a shock absorber between the shinbone and the thigh bone. There are two menisci within each of your knees. A meniscus usually occurs during an activity in which the knee is forcibly twisted or rotated. While it is most commonly an athletic injury, meniscus tears can also occur in older adults whose cartilage has worn away due to wear and tear or anyone who suffers a traumatic injury.
At the onset of a meniscus tear, there is usually a distinctive popping or clicking sensation. Most people can walk or keep playing a sport right after the injury, but the knee will typically become stiff and swollen within the next few days. A torn meniscus is followed by pain when moving the knee, swelling, and inability to straighten the knee fully.
If left untreated, a torn meniscus can cause the cartilage to become loose and move in the joint, causing the knee to slip out of place. The treatment of this injury depends on the location of the tear and its severity. Rest, elevating the knee, and anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce swelling. Physical therapy can also help strengthen the muscles that support the knee joint. Surgery may be necessary if conservative measures do not yield results. Knee arthroscopy is commonly used to repair a meniscus or perform a meniscectomy. Recovery after surgery requires several months of joint immobilization, crutches, and physical therapy for the patient to regain their full mobility.