What is a Meniscal Tear

Loading the player...

Larissa Roux, MD FRCP Dip Sport Med, MPH, PhD, discusses meniscal tears in sports and activities.

Larissa Roux, MD FRCP Dip Sport Med, MPH, PhD, discusses meniscal tears in sports and activities.

Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Larissa Roux, MD, MPH, PhD, CCFP, Dip Sport Med

Duration: 2 minutes, 27 seconds

A meniscal tear refers to a tear in the fiber cartilage of the knee joint.

Between the two long bones of the leg lie two C-shaped, if you will, discs of fiber cartilage. These are made up of the same type of cartilage that is found at the end of your nose and in your ears, and basically this type of cartilage is the primary shock absorber to the knee joint. It serves to protect the articulate cartilage surfaces of the femur and the tibia from grinding against one another.

A dancer who suffers this type of injury may experience intense pain on one side of the knee or the other, exactly at the knee joint, as well as localized swelling, a possible loss of range of motion, and in some cases a sensation of the knee locking or not being able to straighten it completely.

A meniscus can get pinched with a twisting motion, either from landing a jump improperly or turning suddenly, just like getting your finger pinched in the door. But in dancers it can also be the result of something referred to as a screwing hole turnout. In this instance, a dancer will create the turnout of their feet at a desired angle and then try to straighten their knees to match that angle.

In terms of treatment, in most cases a meniscal tear can be treated with rest, ice, or should I say relative rest, meaning refraining from dance, ice, and a short course of anti-inflammatories followed by a program of physiotherapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles about the knee.

Full recovery following surgery may take up to six to eight weeks. In terms of just a point about prevention: turning out from the hip, rather than from the knee, may prevent this problem from occurring in the first place.

If you have any further questions about meniscal tears, contact your local sport medicine physician and physiotherapist.

Presenter: Dr. Larissa Roux, Sports Medicine Physician, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Sports Medicine Physician

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

QA Chat