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Anatomy of a Meniscus Tear

Each knee joint has two menisci (c-shaped pieces of cartilage) lying between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia). These structures act as shock absorbers, cushioning and distributing weight across the knee. A tear can occur in different parts of the meniscus, and the severity can vary from minor to severe, depending on the depth and extent of the tear.

Causes and Risk Factors

Meniscus tears can be caused by several factors:

  • Trauma: Sudden, harsh movements during sports play, like twisting or turning quickly, often with the foot planted and the knee bent.
  • Degenerative Changes: As we age, our menisci weaken and thin, making them more susceptible to tears even from minor injuries or normal activities.
  • Repetitive Stress: Occupations or sports that involve repetitive squatting or kneeling can increase the risk of a meniscus tear.


The common symptoms of a meniscus tear include:

  • Pain in the knee area, especially when rotating or applying pressure on the joint
  • Swelling which typically occurs soon after the injury
  • Popping Sensation during the injury
  • Difficulty bending and straightening the leg fully, often accompanied by a feeling of your knee getting “stuck”

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosis of a meniscus tear involves:

  • Physical Examination: Our specialists will examine your knee for tenderness along the joint line where the meniscus sits. This examination may include various maneuvers that apply tension to the meniscus to see if it reproduces your pain.
  • Imaging Tests: An MRI scan is often used to provide a clear image of the extent of the meniscus tear and to help guide treatment options.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

  • Physical Therapy: Strengthening and flexibility exercises can help reduce the load on your knee and stabilize it.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Rest and Ice: Limiting activities to rest the knee and applying ice to reduce swelling are initial conservative treatment steps.

Surgical Treatment

If symptoms persist despite conservative measures, surgical treatment may be necessary. The most common procedure is arthroscopic surgery, where small incisions are made to insert a camera and surgical tools to trim or repair the torn meniscus.

At Excel Health, we tailor each treatment plan to your specific needs, ensuring that you receive the best possible care for your meniscus tear. We’re committed to helping you return to your everyday activities with strength and confidence. If you believe you have a meniscus tear or are experiencing knee problems, contact us today to schedule an assessment.

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