Meniscal Tear

Meniscal tears can happen during sports activities, especially contact sports if a player is twisting, cutting, pivoting, slowing down or being tackled. 

The menisci are two pieces of C-shaped cartilage located in the knee joint – one on the inside of the knee joint and one on the outside. Older adults are more likely to have degenerative meniscal tears where the cartilage wears out over time.

Meniscal Tears: What You Need to Know

  • Prevention
    Talk to your Fletcher Allen doctor about exercises you can do to make your leg muscles stronger, which will help protect and stabilize your knees.  Also, always wear protective gear and use proper form when playing sports.
  • Teamwork
    Meniscal tears are best managed by a group of specialists that include sports medicine experts, bone imaging radiologists, physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons. At Fletcher Allen, our physicians and other support staff work together as a team, providing superior care.
  • Technology
    Our team uses the latest fiber optic technology and minimally invasive procedures to treat meniscal tears.  We offer arthroscopic knee surgery when non-surgical treatments and medications are not successful in fixing your knee pain.

What is a Meniscal Tear?

The menisci are cartilage in the knee joint that act as shock absorbers between the major bones of the knee. They are made of tough, rubbery cartilage that helps cushion and stabilize the knee joint.

Meniscal tears can happen while playing rough, contact sports.  Sports-related meniscal tears may occur along with other knee injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.  Meniscal tears can also be degenerative where the cartilage in the knee wears out over time in older adults.

Meniscal tear symptoms include:

  • Knee pain
  • Swollen knee
  • Locking of the knee joint
  • Limited motion of the knee
  • Popping or clicking within the knee

Several factors can increase your risk of developing a meniscal tear, including:

  • Playing contact sports or those that cause you to suddenly twist or pivot on one leg, such as:
    • Football
    • Basketball
    • Tennis
  • Age: the risk increases as you age

Learn More About Meniscal Tear Diagnosis and Treatment at Fletcher Allen

The meniscal tear treatment that is right for you will depend upon its type, size and location. Also if there are other conditions at the same time such as an ACL tear, that will affect the treatments the doctor recommends for you. At Fletcher Allen, we use specialized bone imaging radiology to diagnose meniscal tears.

Some tears may heal on their own, while others require surgery. Our highly trained sports medicine experts and orthopedic surgeons will work closely with you to determine the right course of treatment.