A tear of a knee meniscus is a common injury for athletes. The medial meniscus on the inside of the knee is more commonly injured than the outside lateral meniscus, as it is less mobile.

Menisci are rubbery, C-shaped discs found in the knee. There are two menisci in each knee which lie in between the thigh and shin bones. The meniscus on the inside of the knee is the medial meniscus, and on the outside is the lateral meniscus. The job of the menisci is to provide cushioning and stability for the knee joint.

Injury

A tear of a meniscus can be caused by:

  • twisting or turning quickly when the knee is bent
  • a blow to a bent or twisted knee
  • degenerative processes in the older population

What do I feel?

  • Pain on the inside of the knee
  • Swelling/tenderness around the knee
  • A popping or clicking may be felt within the knee
  • The knee may lock or catch with movement

What can I do?

  • Apply ice to the knee for pain relief
  • Elevation – prop the leg up on pillows
  • Rest from activity
  • See a physiotherapist for correct rehabilitation and exercises

Treatment for a minor tear usually involves stretching of the knee, strengthening of the quadriceps (thigh) muscles, and balance exercises. Depending on the severity of the meniscal tear, arthroscopic surgery may be required. A rehabilitation program will be implemented following surgery, similar to treatment for a minor tear.