The meniscus is shock-absorbing cartilage in the middle of your knee. There are two menisci – one on the inside (“medial”) and another on the outside of the knee (“lateral”).
Patients with meniscus tears will complain of pain on either side of the knee. Sometimes there is associated swelling of the knee. Twisting or squatting can cause increased pain. Occasionally, if there is a large meniscus tear, a patient can complain that their knee locks, that is, it gets stuck in a certain position then needs to be “wiggled” to get it back into place. Surgery is needed to treat the torn meniscus.
The meniscus can be torn in two main ways.
Traumatic tear – twisting injuries to the knee can cause meniscus tears. This can happen during sports or even while doing things around the house or office. Road accidents are another common way of injuring the meniscus.
Degenerative tear – as you age, so do your menisci. They “wear out” and can tear with minimal trauma. Often people don’t remember what caused the tear at all!
Meniscal tears are usually diagnosed from the patient’s history and physical examination but a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan is very useful for confirming the diagnosis. If your knee continues to produce pain, your physician may recommend keyhole or arthroscopic surgery. However, not all people with a meniscus tear require cartilage repair surgery in Singapore. Some people are able avoid surgery if they can cope with their symptoms.