Meniscus Tears

Meniscus Tears

Body Part


The menisci are two crescent shaped pieces of cartilage that sit between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia). It is of a rubbery consistency and acts as a ‘shock absorber’ to cushion and distribute weight in the joint preventing overloading and damage.

Meniscus tears are fairly common and are seen in all age ranges. In younger people, especially in those who play sports, injury often occurs when there is a sudden twist or change of direction. These movements place excessive load on the meniscus cartilage tearing it.

Meniscal tears also occur when the cartilage becomes less elastic with time, becoming stiff and weakened. Simple movements such as getting up from a chair may then lead to meniscal tears. This type of tear could signal the beginning of osteoarthritis.


Often people describe feeling a sudden sharp pain, however, they are able to keep walking on the affected leg. Gradually over hours to days, swelling and stiffness may increase. Other common symptoms include:

  • Feeling like the knee is ‘giving way’.
  • Feeling of ‘catching’ in the joint.
  • Pain when the two knees make contact in bed.
  • Pain when walking up stairs or on uneven ground.
  • Stiffness and swelling.
  • Treatment

    Depending on the type of meniscal tear, treatment can be either non surgical or surgical. Recent literature has shed more light on the importance of the meniscus and the current trend is towards meniscal preservation with attempts made to repair the meniscus if possible. This is particularly the case in younger individuals where the risk of arthritis is increased with removal of the meniscus. If a repair is not possible then the damaged portion is surgically removed in a procedure known as a partial menisectomy.

    In older individuals the consensus is to attempt a period of non surgical management of 2-3 months prior to considering surgery. During this period the knee pain may improve with physiotherapy. If the pain fails to settle then consult with your orthopaedic surgeon.

    Meniscal Cinch™ II All-Inside Meniscal Repair