The meniscus is the cartilage in the knee that serves as a shock absorber and stabilizer. A wedge-shaped, rubbery cushion in the form of the letter “C”, the menisci help distribute the weight of the body evenly across the knee joint. Damage to the meniscus often happens during a ligament tear.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear include:
- Knee pain, stiffness or swelling
- Tenderness in the joint line
- Popping or clicking in the knee
- Reduced mobility in the joint
- A sense the knee may “give out”
When a meniscus tear becomes symptomatic and interferes with daily activities, surgery may be considered. The surgeon can trim or remove the damaged pieces of the cartilage or sew the damaged pieces together. Depending on the age and condition of the patient and the severity of the injury, a cartilage transplant to repair damaged meniscus may be an option.
Illustrations are reproduced with permission from Fischer S, (interim ed): Your Orthopaedic Connection. Rosemont, IL, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Available at http://orthoinfo.aaos.org.org/.