Medial Meniscus Tear

Medial Meniscus TearSymptoms:  Common symptoms of a medial meniscus tear include a dull and constant pain in and around the knee when resting, that turns into a sharp pain when walking or bending the affected leg. In severe cases, the pain may be debilitating, leaving you unable to walk can occur. Swelling may also be present, showing up a few hours after the injury. While the majority of medial meniscus tears occur from physical trauma, in some cases long term wear and tear can cause a degenerative medial meniscus tear.

While the majority of medial meniscus tears occur from physical trauma, in some cases long term wear and tear can cause a degenerative medial meniscus tear.

Overview:  Trauma caused by compression combined with rotation of the knee joint is the number one cause of a meniscal tear. This trauma can occur from a skiing accident, a basketball pivot or simply slipping on a patch of ice. A medial meniscus tear is defined as a tear in the fibrocartilage that makes up the two menisci in each knee.

The lateral, or outer meniscus, and the medial, or inner meniscus work together to form a shock absorber for the knee. Traumatic events can overload the medial meniscus, causing partial or complete tears.  Likewise, prolonged wear and tear can cause degenerative changes, where the medial meniscus simply wears out when the tissue that makes up the menisci dries out.  While we don’t fully understand this degenerative aging process, it can make the elderly susceptible to medial meniscus tears from non-stressful activities such as dancing or squatting.

Treatment options depend on the severity of the tear. Conservative, non-invasive treatment is often more effective than surgery. However, severe tears may require surgery which removes part of the meniscus and suturing or scaffolding a graft in the knee to promote the growth of new tissue. If you suspect you have suffered a medial meniscus tear, it’s important to see Dr. Suzan Starler, D.C. as soon as possible. Don’t wait for the pain to get worse. Tears to the medial meniscus often occur in conjunction with additional injuries to surrounding structures, which is why a thorough examination is highly recommended. Tears to the meniscus often heal poorly due to the poor blood supply in this area, another reason prompt treatment should be sought.