What you need to know about meniscus rupture

Meniscus tear is a common sports injury whose severity and pain depend on the extent of the damage. Abnormal rotation of the knee causes the cartilage of each meniscus to rupture entirely or partially. This injury is more common in athletes who engage in foot-related sports activities. Meniscus tears often occur alongside other knee injuries, including anterior cruciate ligament tears.

Meniscus anatomy:

The meniscus is a piece of flexible rubber cartilage that softens the knee bones. There are two menisci on each knee, each meniscus attached to the joint around the thigh:

The middle meniscus, located on the inside of the knee, is C. The lateral meniscus on the outside of the knee is the same as the letter U. The two menisci work together to reduce shock, stabilize the amount of impact to the legs, and kneel when standing and facilitate movement between the knees surfaces.

Each meniscus is located between the layers of articular cartilage covering the femur floor and the upper part of the tibia (where the two bones join to form the knee).

If the meniscus is damaged and not working correctly, then more force is applied to the articular cartilage, which gradually leads to articular cartilage damage and osteoarthritis of the knee.

Early diagnosis and medical treatment are essential to prevent further damage to the knee or increased wear due to the knee joint’s gradual wear and tear.

The main reasons for meniscus rupture in sports:

 An athlete experiences this problem when diving to catch a ball on a basketball or soccer field.

Excessive rotation of the knee can cause any meniscus to rupture. This incident is common in sports games such as football and basketball.

Walking fast or squatting on uneven surfaces can cause disproportionate force on the knees and lead to meniscus tears. This movement occurs in crossovers, dribbles in football, or a sudden fall to the ground.

The knee joint’s sudden flexion can also lead to a meniscus tear when a basketball player collides with another player.

Causes of wear and tear of the meniscus tissue of the knee:

With age, the knee’s meniscus cartilage becomes more vulnerable and is damaged by even the slightest blow. People with meniscus disease or activities that involve the knees are also prone to meniscus tears.

Rupture of the meniscus, such as osteoarthritis of the knee, can cause the meniscus to rupture over time, weakening the meniscus cartilage and rupturing it.

Jobs and activities that require jumping or squatting weaken the meniscus cartilage over time. For example, plumbers or carpet installers who spend most of the day squatting on the floor are more likely to have meniscus tears.

Symptoms of meniscus rupture:

Local pain near the rupture site

In a lateral meniscus tear, pain occurs along the knee’s outer edge. An internal meniscus tear causes pain in the inner edge of the injured knee.

Immediate pain after injury

Pain due to meniscus rupture often occurs from the moment of injury. It is usually caused by a sudden and severe blow to the foot while twisting in such cases.

Slow onset of symptoms

In some cases, meniscus tears may occur without any symptoms, which is more common in the elderly and people with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Pain when moving

In some cases, the pain is localized but intensifies with each knee area movement.

Accumulation of fluid in the knee joint

A fluid that collects in the knee joint and causes swelling in all areas of the knee.

Chronic symptoms of a knee meniscus tear:

  1. Feeling the sound of tapping when bending and straightening
  2. Locking the knee, which sometimes prevents the knee from opening, teaches the patient to move their knees out of the closed position.
  3. I am feeling joint pain right where the meniscus is. This pain depends on the location of the rupture in the internal or external meniscus. Pressing on the affected area feels more pressure.

Diagnosis of meniscus rupture:

Patient medical history

The doctor first receives information from the patient about the occurrence, location, and severity of the pain. Next, it reviews the patient’s medical history information.

Physical examination

After reviewing the patient’s medical history, physical examinations are performed to determine the extent of the rupture, the location, and the presence of locking. The MC Murray test is as follows:

The doctor bends and straightens the leg at a 90-degree angle to the knee, and after straightening the leg, grabs the thigh muscles and rotates the shank in two directions so that the femur rotates inward and outward. An internal rotation test is performed for lateral meniscus rupture and an external rotation test to diagnose internal meniscus rupture.


If your doctor has recommended surgery to treat a meniscus tear, an MRI scan is needed to determine its location and severity so you can see deeper into the soft tissue of the knee joint.

Diagnosis of meniscus rupture may require several different methods. For example, suppose the fluid in the knee is swollen. In that case, an MRI scan is necessary because the doctor will not gather the required information through physical examination alone.

The type of meniscus tear of the knee is as follows:

Rupture of the flap

Rupture of the inner meniscus may lead to rupture of the flap.

Meniscus cartilage burnout

Cartilage burnout over time leads to rupture and exacerbation of the meniscus.

Deformity of the knee cartilage

Rupture of the internal meniscus causes the rest of the meniscus to separate and eventually deforms the knee’s cartilage.

Radial rupture

In radial rupture, the break occurs at one of the meniscus’ edges and moves into the tissue perpendicular to the edge.

Knowing the type and severity of the tear helps the doctor determine the type of treatment.

Treatment of meniscus rupture:

The severity and location of the rupture are essential and influential factors in determining the treatment method. For example; The third part of the meniscus has more blood flow and heals faster because it delivers blood and nutrients to the damaged tissue.

The patient’s medical history, professionalism in sports activities, and willingness to return to exercise will all be considered by the physician.

Common non-surgical treatments for meniscus rupture include:

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Your doctor may prescribe a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling in the affected area.


Physiotherapy exercises are usually used after an injury to the target area or surgery. The goals of physiotherapy exercises are to control pain and swelling, restore normal range of motion to the knee, and improve the muscles that protect the knee.

Electrical stimulation

Electrical stimulation of the knee muscle may strengthen the meniscus and surrounding tissues.


Corticosteroids may be injected into the knee joint to relieve pain and inflammation in the knee’s soft tissue.

Meniscus rupture surgery

Surgery is usually done to remove damaged tissue, repair it, or possibly delete the meniscus. Although the success of this method depends on many factors, surgery is the most effective treatment for people under 30 years.

The most common types of surgery for meniscus rupture are:


In this procedure, surgeons place an arthroscopic camera in the patient’s knee to find and observe the rupture. In most cases, the damaged part of the meniscus is removed, and then stitches are used to reconnect the disc. This type of surgery is called a partial penectomy, and in extensive injuries, the entire meniscus is removed.


In this method, arthroscopic cameras are used to find the rupture, and then the damaged area is repaired using surgical sutures.

The patient’s recovery after surgery depends on the severity of the rupture and the nature of the treatment. Still, it often includes physical therapy and reduced physical activity until the range of motion returns and the swelling subsides.

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