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Tearing the Meniscus in the Knee

A common knee injury is known as a meniscus tear. The meniscus is a c-shaped disc which acts as a cushion in your knee. There are two menisci in the knee joint and both work to keep you correctly balancing weight in the knee area. In the event one or both menisci become torn you will lose the functionality of your knee.

Tears of the meniscus are common because people acquire such injuries by turning or twisting too fast while there foot is planted and the knee is still bent. You can also tear the meniscus by lifting an object that is too heavy or during a sporting event. Meniscus problems can also result due to age. As we grow older, the cartilage in the knee wears down and does not protect the knee joint like it used to causing pain and difficulties in walking.

Meniscus tears occur in three categories. The first kind is a minor tear where pain and swelling is common but usually subsides in two weeks. Moderate tearing of the meniscus can generate pain in the center of the knee with swelling progressively getting worse over a few days. Knees can feel stiff and can be limited in movement but you can usually walk without problems. Pain can often be sharp when you twist your knee or while bending. Severe tears to the meniscus can mean your knee feels like it pops and it can collapse under your weight without warning. It can be hard to straighten the knee at all. Stiffness and swelling is possible at times.

Xrays or an MRI may be necessary to properly diagnosis a tear in the meniscus. Your knee may need to be stabilized using a brace and plenty of rest will be ordered to prevent additional injury. Small tears can be healed over time with rest and physical therapy. For larger tears, surgery may be required. Younger patients will benefit from surgery for large tears but older people may not be able to find the same relief from surgery. Plenty of recovery time is necessary with rest and therapy to regain movement and strength in the knee.

For more information on knee pain and injury, read our FREE report – The Disability Guys’ Guide to Your Knees.