This leaflet is intended to provide information for both adults and xxxxx.
What are the menisci?
The menisci are C-shaped pieces of cartilage located within the knee joint. There is one on the inside of the knee (medial) and one on the outside (lateral).
What are the types of meniscal tears?
Acute traumatic tears
Caused by an injury. Some key features are:
- they happen in younger people, under 40 years old
- they are usually associated with a twisting injury
- they cause localised knee pain
- locking’ of the knee, where the knee gets stuck in a position, and you are physically unable to release it from that position with assistance.
As we age the menisci can become frayed. For many people this is a normal aging process, a bit like getting grey hair or wrinkles and many people won’t experience any problems. Some people can get episodes of pain, swelling, giving way and, or locking.
- they happen in middle-aged or older people
- there is often no specific injury or incident
While there is often no single cause, there are a range of factors which may increase the risk of developing degenerative meniscal tears, such as being overweight.
How are degenerative meniscal tears managed?
- An X-ray maybe requested to see if there is arthritis present in the joint.
- Physiotherapy is the most effective method of managing painful, degenerative meniscal tears.
- Losing weight, if overweight, is an important part of managing the condition.
- Pain relief medication can be used to provide temporary relief and are particularly useful to allow you to exercise. Corticosteroid injections may provide temporary pain relief but will need to be discussed with your clinician, to see if they are suitable for you.
- Surgery: In some cases you may need surgery, especially if you are experiencing locking and giving way, regularly (mechanical symptoms).
- Surgery may also be considered if there is persistent pain and/or swelling where non-surgical treatments have been tried, Surgery may not be helpful if there is arthritis present on your X-ray.
Do I need an MRI scan?
Your clinician will assess and examine your knee. An MRI scan will not usually be required because degenerative meniscal tears occur in most people over 40 years.
How long will it take to get better?
Often episodes of knee pain will settle naturally over a few weeks or months even without treatment. It is important to know this before considering surgery.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.