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Injuries and treatment of knee meniscus

Knee Menisci

Menisci – are two cartilages in the knee joint cavity which serve for cushioning and protection of the main articular cartilage. They also fulfill a stabilizing function limiting excess mobility in the joint and increasing its congruence. Meniscus injuries are 50% of all knee traumas. As a result knee mobility is limited, the knee starts aching and in serious cases one can develop knee arthrosis. Injuries are often accompanied by ligament ruptures, fractures or dislocations. Immediate medical aid is essential in order to keep leg functions.


Depending on the type of injury the meniscus can get torn off the articular capsule, break laterally or longitudinally, lose stability or get compressed. The injury can be different for the interior and exterior (lateral) cartilages: the latter is very mobile and more often gets compressed and ruptures are more typical of the former which is in the joint cavity.

Symptoms of meniscus injuries can be rather controversial and imperceptible because of cartilage injuries, lipomas and whirlbone.

It is usually accompanied by:

  • problems while going up and down the stairs; 
  • high temperature sensitivity in the region of the knee joint; 
  • knee cracks; 
  • pain while bending the knee; 
  • partial reduction (or atrophy) of the muscular tissue; 
  • liquid in the joint, water retention in the surrounding tissues; 
  • inability to do some sports activities.

To get more exact diagnostics results the orthopedist can conduct special tests, arthroscopy or magnetic resonance tomography.

Treatment of Meniscus

Depending on the peculiarities of the disease, patients might need a surgery or just conservative treatment. While treating meniscus injuries, the following factors must be taken into account:

  • type and degree of a rupture; 
  • injured region and its complexity; 
  • activity level and age of the patient.

In ordinary cases icing, elastic bandages and physiotherapy might be enough. Cartilage injuries close to the joint capsule or weak compression don’t require resection provided there are no other injured structures. In case of partial surgical removal of the torn cartilage (so called meniscectomy) arthroscopy and more seldom arthrotomy – an open surgery – is conducted. Serious ruptures and ligament injuries are treated only surgically but minimum interference in the joint bursa.

Restoration of motion functions after the surgery can take from several weeks to several months.

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