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Meniscal Tear

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A meniscal tear is a tear in the meniscus. The meniscus is cartilage, which acts as a shock-absorbing structure in the knee. There are two menisci in each knee, a medial one on the inside, and a lateral one on the outside.
There are different types of tears depending on the location and how they look. Treatment depends on the severity of the tear.

Meniscal-Tear

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Most injuries to the meniscus are caused by trauma. This usually includes compression and twisting of the knee. Because the aging process tends to break down the inner tissues of the meniscus, minor trauma can injure the meniscus in an older adult.

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Factors that may increase your risk of:

  • Degenerative tears:
    • Increasing age, especially over 60 years old
    • Male gender
    • Occupations that involve kneeling and squatting
    • Climbing stairs
    • Previous knee injuries
    • Obesity
  • Acute tears:
    • Participating in contact sports, such as soccer or rugby
    • Poor techniques for jumping, landing, pivoting, and cutting

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Symptoms may include:

  • A popping sound at the time of the injury
  • Pain and swelling in the knee
  • Tightness in the knee
  • Locking up, catching, or giving way of the knee
  • Tenderness in the joint

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You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your knee may need to be viewed. This can be done with:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • Arthroscopy

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Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depend on the severity of your injury. Physical Therapy treatment may include:

  • Gentle stretching to keep the mobility in your knee
  • Strengthening exercises to make your entire leg stronger and balance exercises to reduce your risk of falling and re-injury
  • Ice and compression to reduce swelling and pain

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To reduce your chances of a meniscal tears, take these steps:

  • Maintain proper technique when exercising or playing sports.
  • Wear appropriate footwear for your sport and playing surface.
  • Strengthen both the quadriceps and the hamstrings.
  • Consider wearing a knee brace for sports.

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library
RESOURCES:
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

http://orthoinfo.org

  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

http://www.sportsmed.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
  • Canadian Orthopaedic Association

http://www.coa-aco.org

  • Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation

http://www.canorth.org

REFERENCES:
  • Knee sprains and meniscal tears. Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. Available at:  http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/fractures_dislocations_and_sprains/knee_sprains_and_meniscal_injuries.html Updated August 2013. Accessed February 28, 2014.
  • Meniscal tears. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:  http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00358Updated February 2009. Accessed February 28, 2014.
  • Meniscal tears in athletes. American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Available at:  http://www.sportsmed.org/uploadedFiles/Content/Patient/Sports_Tips/ST%20Meniscal%20Tears%2008.pdf Published 2008. Accessed February 28, 2014.
  • Meniscus tears. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed Updated February 13, 2014. Accessed February 28, 2014
  • Torn meniscus. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:  http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/orthopaedic_disorders/torn_meniscus_85,P00945/ Accessed February 28, 2014.
  • 04/24/2014 DynaMed’s Systematic Literature Surveillance.  http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Snoeker BA, Bakker EW, et al. Risk factors for meniscal tears: a systematic review including meta-analysis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013; 43(6):352-367.

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library