DefinitionA meniscal tear is a tear in the meniscus. The meniscus is cartilage, which acts as a shock-absorbing structure in the knee. There are 2 menisci in each knee, a medial one on the inside, and a lateral one on the outside.There are different types of tears depending on the location and how they look. Treatment depends on the severity of the tear.
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CausesMost injuries to the meniscus are caused by trauma. This usually includes compression and twisting of the knee. Because the aging process tends to break down the inner tissues of the meniscus, minor trauma can injure the meniscus in an older adult.
Risk FactorsOlder adults and men are at increased risk. Factors that may increase your risk of:
- Degenerative tears:
- Occupations that involve kneeling and squatting
- Climbing stairs
- Previous knee injuries
- Acute tears:
- Participating in contact sports, such as soccer or rugby
- Poor techniques for jumping, landing, pivoting, and cutting
SymptomsSymptoms may include:
- A popping sound at the time of the injury
- Pain and swelling in the knee
- Tightness in the knee
- Locking up, catching, or giving way of the knee
- Tenderness in the joint
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Your knee may need to be viewed. This can be done with:
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