Knee Meniscus Tears
The meniscus is the padding in between the two long bones of the lower leg, the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shinbone).
What causes a meniscus tear?
When you are young, it is usually caused by an injury such as a forceful twist to the knee. As we get older, less force is required as meniscus can tears can occur without trauma.
The meniscus often develops micro-tears through normal life and occasionally larger tears related to a twisting or landing injury. Recent studies have shown increasingly that surgical intervention is best avoided.
Will I develop arthritis after having a part of meniscus removed?
The damaged meniscus cannot be repaired and is generally just cut out, which tends to increase the onset of early osteo-arthritis. The current thinking is that the meniscus is a finite resource so should be maintained as much as possible.
My MRI shows meniscus tears – does that mean I need an operation?
When deciding on the best management for meniscus injuries, it’s best not to focus too much on MRI findings. Instead pay more attention to how the knee is functioning in regards to pain, swelling, exercise tolerance and balance. Studies show that over 50% of people over the age of 50 will show meniscus tears on MRI, even if they have no knee pain, and the relationship between tears on MRI and knee dysfunction is quite low.