The meniscus is a c-shaped piece of cartilage in your knee joint. You have two in each knee.
The meniscus forms a cushion between the bones in your knee to protect the joint. The meniscus:
A meniscus tear can occur if you:
As you get older, your meniscus ages too, and it can become easier to injure.
You may feel a "pop" when a meniscus injury occurs. You also may have:
After examining your knee, the doctor may order these imaging tests:
If you have a meniscus tear, depending on the severity of the injury, you may need:
Treatment may depend on your age, activity level, and where the tear occurs. For mild tears, you may be able to treat the injury with rest and self-care.
For other types of tears, or if you are younger in age, you may need knee arthroscopy (surgery) to repair or trim the meniscus. In this type of surgery, small cuts are made to the knee and a small camera and surgical tools are inserted to repair the tear.
A meniscus transplant may be needed if the meniscus tear is so severe that all or nearly all of the meniscus cartilage is torn or has to be removed. The new meniscus can help with knee pain and possibly prevent future arthritis.
Follow R.I.C.E. to help reduce pain and swelling:
You can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) to reduce pain and swelling. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) helps with pain, but not with swelling. You can buy these pain medicines at the store.
You should not put all of your weight on your leg if it hurts or if your doctor tells you not to. Rest and self-care may be enough to allow the tear to heal. You may need to use crutches.
Afterward, your physical therapist will teach you exercises to make the muscles, ligaments, and tendons around your knee stronger and more flexible.
If you have surgery, physical therapy will be used to help you regain strength and the full use of your knee. Recovery can take a few weeks to a few months, but under your doctor's guidance, you should be able to do the same activities you did before.
Call your health care provider if:
If you have surgery, call your surgeon if you have:
For any knee pain or injury affecting your daily activities, call 1-855-NH-SPORT to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic sports medicine specialists.