What causes meniscal tears?
In younger people, meniscal tears are usually the result of injury. In older people, the meniscus can wear out over time.
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Meniscal tears are tears in one meniscus or both menisci. A meniscus is the crescent-shaped piece of cartilage that pads the bones of the knee joint.
The symptoms of meniscal tears are knee pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of movement.
Anyone can tear their meniscus. The problem shows up more often in young adults who play sports, especially contact sports such as football (soccer) and rugby; in older adults over 60 years of age; in people who kneel or squat frequently (e.g., at work) and …
Your doctor can suspect meniscal tears based on your symptoms and a physical examination. They may also have further tests of your knee done, such as MRI, ultrasound or arthroscopy.
Treatment of meniscal tears can involve rest and recuperation, rehabilitation measures (physical exercises), and possibly surgery to repair or remove the torn meniscus or part of it.
Resting the knee, avoiding activities that strain it and applying ice packs can all help ease the symptoms of meniscal tears and help the knee heal.
It is not possible to completely prevent meniscal tears, since they are usually the result of injury. Avoiding sports that involve collisions and fast, frequent changes of movement can reduce your chances of knee injury.
In the short term, treatment of meniscal tears is usually effective, and will allow you to return to your regular activity level within a few months. The long-term effect of a meniscal tear depends on your age, and how serious the tear is.