The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee joint that acts as a shock absorber and helps to distribute weight across the knee joint. There are two menisci in each knee joint - the medial meniscus on the inner side of the knee and the lateral meniscus on the outer side of the knee.
Meniscus tears can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Trauma: A sudden and forceful twisting or bending of the knee joint can cause a meniscus tear. This can happen during sports or other physical activities, or due to a fall or accident.
Age-related wear and tear: Over time, the meniscus can become worn and weakened, making it more susceptible to tears.
Repetitive stress: Repeatedly stressing the knee joint, such as through repetitive bending or twisting motions, can increase the risk of meniscus tears.
Degenerative conditions: Certain degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis, can weaken the meniscus and make it more prone to tears.
Improper body mechanics: Poor body mechanics, such as landing improperly from a jump or pivoting too forcefully, can increase the risk of meniscus tears.
Treatment for a meniscus tear depends on the severity of the injury and can range from rest, ice, and physical therapy to surgery. For small tears, conservative treatment may be recommended, such as rest and physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint. For larger or more severe tears, surgery may be necessary to repair or remove the damaged meniscus tissue.
Recovery from a meniscus tear can take several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the injury and the type of treatment. It is important to follow a rehabilitation program to help restore strength and flexibility to the knee and prevent future injury.