Medial meniscus tear

A medial meniscus tear involves damage to the semi-circular cartilage in the knee. This injury results to soreness on the interior of the joint. An individual is likely to be injured via direct strike in contact sports or twisting forces but can also occur among older individuals through gradual deterioration. The treatment is based on the severity of the damage and some cases require surgery.

What are the indications?

The usual indications of a medial meniscus tear include:

  • Pain on the interior of the knee joint that might have an abrupt onset but also occur gradually
  • Pain when completely bending the knee or squatting down.
  • Swelling might be present but not in all cases
  • Locking or giving away of the knee
  • Tenderness along the joint line on the interior of the knee
  • Diminished range of motion
    Medial meniscus tear
    Pain on the interior of the knee joint that might have an abrupt onset but also occur gradually

The doctor will confirm a diagnosis using specific tests such as Apley’s test and McMurray’s test as well as an MRI.

What are the possible causes?

The common cause of a medial meniscus tear is twisting of the joint with the foot planted to the ground either with or without contact from another player. Damage to the cartilage often occurs along with injuries to the other structures in the knee. In some cases, it occurs in a gradual manner through deterioration especially among the elderly.

Management of medial meniscus tear

The PRICE method (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation) is part of the initial care for the injury. The pain, swelling and inflammation can be reduced with the application of an ice pack and compression. The individual should rest to allow healing of the affected tissues.

The injury should be protected by using a stabilized support for the knee built with supple springs in the sides for added support. For severe cases, a hinged knee brace equipped with secure metal supports linked by a hinge can protect the joint from lateral movement. In addition, compression also aids in reducing the swelling.

A minor tear that does not involve limitation on movement or locking is managed conservatively without surgery. Aside from the PRICE method, NSAIDs or anti-inflammatory medications are given in the early phases to ease with the pain and swelling. Electrotherapy such as laser therapy, ultrasound and TENS are also beneficial in minimizing the swelling.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on a medial meniscus tear is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage joint injuries, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Victoria, Ottawa and Halifax.

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