What causes your knee to give way

💉 Meniscus lacrimation of the knee: causes, symptoms and diagnosis - your doctor 2021

Overview of the meniscus tear

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that forms a cushion between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). There are two menisci in each knee joint.

They can be damaged or torn from activities that put pressure on or twist the knee joint. A hard tackle on the soccer field or a sudden twist on the basketball court can result in a meniscus tear.

You don't have to be an athlete to get a torn meniscus. Simply standing up from a squatting position can also cause a meniscus tear. According to Boston Children's Hospital, more than 500,000 Meniscal Tears take place in the United States each year.

Treatment options may vary from home remedies to outpatient surgery, depending on the severity of your injury. You can help prevent this injury by doing exercises that strengthen your leg muscles and using appropriate techniques during contact activities or sports.



Causes of a torn meniscus

The meniscus can be ruptured during activities that use forced or twisting motion to cause direct contact or pressure. Sudden twist or spinning, a deep squat, or heavy lifting can result in injury. Many athletes are exposed to a meniscus tear.

Sports that require sudden turns and stops can put you at increased risk of meniscus tearing. Some of these sports are:

  • Soccer
  • basketball
  • Soccer
  • tennis

According to Boston Children's Hospital, meniscus tears are becoming increasingly common in children. This is because children participate in organized sports at an earlier age. If you focus on just one sport, a child is more likely to experience a meniscus tear. The same applies to young people who take part in competitive sports.

The meniscus becomes weaker with age. Tears are more common in people over the age of 30. Movements such as squatting or stepping can injure people with weak menisci.

If you have osteoarthritis, you are at a higher risk of injuring your knee or tearing your meniscus. Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease with pain and stiffness in the joints caused by aging and wear and tear.

If an older person has a meniscal tear, it is more likely to be associated with degeneration. This is when the cartilage in the knee becomes weaker and thinner. As a result, it is more prone to cracking.


Symptoms of a tear in the meniscus

When a meniscus tear occurs, you can hear a cracking sound around your knee joint. Then you can experience:

  • Pain, especially when touching the area
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty moving your knee or inability to move it in a full range of motion
  • the feeling that your knee is locked or caught
  • the feeling that your knee gives way or is unable to support you

Slipping or cracking may also occur, which usually indicates that a piece of cartilage has loosened and is blocking the knee joint.

Contact your doctor if any of these symptoms occur and they persist for more than a few days or occur after a knee injury. If your knee locks and you cannot bend your knee after straightening it, see your doctor right away.



Diagnosing meniscal tear

Physical examination

After discussing your symptoms with your doctor, they will examine your knee and test your range of motion. You will look closely at where the meniscus is along your joint.

Your doctor may also do a McMurray test to check for a meniscus tear. In this test, the knee is bent and then straightened and rotated. You can hear a slight pop during this test. This can indicate a tear in the meniscus.

Imaging examinations

Imaging exams may be ordered to confirm a meniscus rupture. This includes:

Knee x-ray

This test shows no meniscal tear. However, it can be helpful to determine if there are other causes of your knee pain, such as osteoarthritis.


An MRI uses a magnetic field to take multiple pictures of your knee. An MRI will be able to take pictures of cartilage and ligaments to determine if there is a meniscus tear.

Although MRIs can help your doctor make a diagnosis, they are not considered to be one hundred percent reliable. According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes, the accuracy of MRIs for diagnosing meniscal tears is 77 percent.

Sometimes meniscal tears cannot appear on MRI because they are very similar to degenerative or age-related changes. Additionally, a doctor may misdiagnose that a person has a torn meniscus. This is because some structures around the knee can resemble a meniscal tear.

However, the use of an MRI has reduced arthroscopy in some patients.


An ultrasound uses sound waves to take pictures in the body. This will determine if you have any loose cartilage that can get trapped in your knee.


If your doctor is unable to determine the cause of your knee pain using these techniques, they may recommend an arthroscopy to examine your knee. If you need surgery, your doctor will most likely use an arthroscope as well.

Arthroscopy involves making a small incision or incision near the knee. The arthroscope is a thin and flexible fiber optic device that can be inserted through the incision. It has a small light and a camera. Surgical instruments can be moved through the arthroscope or through additional cuts in your knee.

After an arthroscopy, either for surgery or an examination, patients can often go home the same day.


Treatment of a tear in the meniscus

First, you should treat the knee injury using conservative techniques such as rest, ice, compression and elevation, or the RICE method:

  • Lie on your knee. Use crutches to avoid any weight on the joint. Avoid activities that make your knee pain worse.
  • Ice your knee every three to four hours for 30 minutes.
  • Compress or wrap the knee in an elastic bandage to reduce inflammation.
  • Raise your knee to reduce swelling.

You can also take medications like ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin (Bayer), or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and swelling in the knee area.

You shouldn't put full weight on your injured knee if it is painful. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around your knee.

Physiotherapy can help relieve pain and increase mobility and stability of the knee. Your physical therapist can also use massage techniques to reduce swelling and stiffness.


If your knee isn't responding to the above treatments, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for this surgery. Some example statements can be:

  • for crutches before your procedure and learn how to use them
  • complete preoperative requirements, such as blood tests, x-rays, MRI, electrocardiogram (EKG), and other medical clearances, including anesthesia clearance
  • fill out your prescription for pain medication before the procedure
  • do not eat or drink anything in the night before the procedure

Notify your doctor if you have any conditions that may prevent you from having surgery. This includes:

  • a fever
  • an infection
  • a cold
  • an open wound

The surgeon will make a small cut in your knee. Your surgeon will insert tools and a camera through the incision to repair or remove the damaged meniscus. The entire process usually takes about an hour.

You can usually go home the same day after this procedure. Full recovery takes time. However, you can start performing physical therapy just a few days after the operation.

If your procedure requires meniscus repair, the recovery and rehabilitation time is approximately six weeks. You will wear a knee brace or crutches during this time.

Surgery carries risks and you should speak to your doctor to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure. The recovery phase includes regular visits to the doctor and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that support the knees.



Tips to avoid tearing the meniscus

You can prevent meniscus tears by regularly doing exercises that strengthen your leg muscles. This will help stabilize your knee joint to protect it from injury.

You can also use protective equipment during exercise or an orthosis to support your knee during activities that can increase your risk of injury.

Always use the correct form when engaging or engaging in activities that may put pressure on your knee joint. It is a good idea:

  • warm up and stretch before training
  • use the right equipment such as athletic shoes specifically designed for your activity
  • lace your shoes properly
  • learn the right techniques for your activities. Get involved in


Long-term perspective after the operation

With proper diagnosis and adherence to treatment, your knee can have the range of motion and function it had before the injury. If a meniscal tear is not treated surgically, the potential for healing will depend on the location of the tear.

Cartilage does not have a significant blood supply, which can affect its ability to heal. However, there are some areas of the meniscus, like the outer sections, that have more blood vessels and are more likely to heal.