Meniscus Tear Overview
The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that stabilizes and cushions the knee. Two tough, rubbery menisci create a cushion between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). Meniscus tears are among the most common knee injuries and a torn meniscus may accompany a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or other knee injury.
A sudden or acute meniscus tear may occur during sports involving direct contact.
Degenerative meniscus tears occur as a person ages and the cartilage weakens and wears thin over time. An awkward twist can be enough to cause a meniscus tear among older people.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear include:
- A “popping” sensation
- Knee pain, especially when rotating the knee
- Stiffness or swelling
- Feeling the knee is catching or locking
- Limits in range of motion
If you twist your knee, it may put you at risk of a meniscus tear. The risk factors include:
- Playing high-contact sports, such as football or lacrosse
- Knee cartilage deteriorates more as you age
- Tennis or basketball moves, which involve high torque pivoting of the knee