Meniscal Cartilage Injuries

The menisci are large, crescent-shaped pieces of cartilage that sit on the top of the tibia (shin bone) to form two shallow cups for the thighbone (femur) to connect to.  There are two in each knee, the medial meniscus (on the inner half), and the lateral meniscus (on the outer half).  Their job is to provide shock absorption, lubricate the knee joint, and control the amount of movement of the joint.

The most common cause of a meniscal injury is by twisting the knee with the foot planted on the ground, or by over-bending the knee, such as during a deep squat.  You may feel a ‘pop’ at the time of the injury, which may indicate a tear to the meniscus.

Meniscal injuries are characterised by pain felt deep in the knee, at the back of the knee, or just below the knee during weight-bearing activities such as walking, jogging, and squatting.  This may be accompanied by a feeling of joint locking, catching, or giving way and swelling is often present.

If you have any of the symptoms above, you should seek to have your knee assessed as soon as possible.  If you have sustained a small tear to the meniscus, these are usually best managed by a course of physiotherapy.  This may include:

  • Activity modification – to reduce the amount of weight-bearing activity whilst the knee is recovering
  • Manual therapy – to lengthen and desensitise any painful, shortened structures as a result of the injury
  • Specific Exercise – to gradually re-strengthen the knee, whilst minimising aggravation
  • Taping/Strapping – to provide pain relief and support to the knee during recovery.

If you have been diagnosed with a large tear, we may need to refer you to your GP or a Knee Consultant for further investigation, such as an MRI scan.

If you would like any additional information then please contact us.