Knee Meniscus Injury or Repair

Meniscus tears are a common knee injury in which the meniscus—the c-shaped disc of cartilage that cushions the knee and acts as a shock absorber—tears as a result of age-related degeneration or trauma. The most common symptoms of a meniscal tear include pain, stiffness, swelling, weakness, and restricted movement. Often, a popping sound will accompany the injury and the pain and stiffness may have a delayed onset. Treatment to repair a meniscus tear will depend on the tear location and type (e.g., longitudinal, bucket handle, flap, transverse, and torn horn). If the tear is small and occurs in the outer edges of the meniscus where there is significant blood flow, surgery may not be necessary. Instead, rest, ice, compression, elevation, and anti-inflammatory medication be the best treatment to promote healing. However, if symptoms persist, the knee is unstable, the tear is large, or the tear falls within the center of the meniscus, arthroscopic surgery may be necessary. The procedure involves inserting a miniature camera to guide the surgeon in trimming or repairing the tear. Following surgery, the doctor may prescribe a brace to restrict knee movement and crutches to keep weight off of it. Physical therapy will begin shortly after.