Each of your knees has two menisci — C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone. The outside meniscus is located on the outside of the knee and the inner meniscus is located on the inside of the knee.
These powerful but flexible menisci absorb the shocks that develop between your thighbone and shinbone, especially in activities in which they are heavily burdened by your weight, such as walking, climbing stairs or landing after jump. The meniscus also stabilizes and distributes evenly the body weight to the knee joint.
A torn meniscus occurs when the loads that grow on the knee are larger than those that can be absorbed by the meniscus.
A torn meniscus in younger patients and athletes occurs with the exertion of a strong force that acts once in a healthy meniscus.
In older patients, continuous and chronic stress on the meniscus, due to physical work, causes gradual deterioration and degeneration. The meniscus can ultimately get torn even by a simple injury.
The mechanism of a meniscus tear is usually a bent knee load with a simultaneous rotation or even simpler movements such as a deep squat. There are several types of meniscal tears, depending on the extent and the shape of the tear.
The main symptoms of meniscal tear are the following:
- Pain in the knee
- sensitivity when palpating the meniscus
- Difficulty straightening the knee fully
- Feeling as though the knee is locked when it is bent. As a result, there is difficulty in straightening the leg
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