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There are 3 bones in the knee, the femur, tibia and patella. The ends of those bones are covered with cartilage (a smooth material that cushions the bone and allows the joint to move easily without pain). The cartilage acts as a shock absorber. Between the bones of the knees are two crescent-shaped discs of connective tissue, called menisci, which also act as shock absorbers to cushion the lower part of the leg from the weight of the rest of the body.
Meniscus tears can occur during a rotating movement while bearing weight, such as when twisting the upper leg while the foot stays in one place during sports and other activities. Tears can be minor, with the meniscus staying connected to the knee, or major, with the meniscus barely attached to the knee by a cartilage thread.
The following are the most common symptoms of a torn meniscus. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of a torn meniscus may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for a torn meniscus may include the following:
Specific treatment for a torn meniscus will be determined by your doctor based on:
Treatment may include:
An untreated torn meniscus can result in instability of the knee, persistent pain, and increased your risk of osteoarthritis.
Call your health care provider if your knee:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
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