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Meniscus Injury

The problem

  • Within the knee joint there are two menisci located on the top of the tibia – one on the inside (medial meniscus) and one on the outside (lateral meniscus)
  • The menisci are made of cartilage and provide stability and cushioning to the knee
  • Meniscus injury usually occurs as a result of a forceful twist or rotation through the knee, especially when weight is on that leg and the foot is planted.
  • Degenerative changes of the knee may also contribute to meniscus injury 

Interesting facts

  • The medial collateral ligament of the knee has some attachments to the medial meniscus. It is for this reason, that people may experience a meniscus and ligamentous injury simultaneously

What you can expect/look out for

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • A popping or catching sensation
  • A locked sensation when trying to fully extend or bend the knee
  • Pain with weight bearing activities, especially those which involve twisting or rotation
  • The knee may feel unstable and/or buckling may occur, especially after swelling subsides 

Hints for self-management

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Avoid aggravating activities 

Management options

  • Small tears may be managed successfully with a conservative approach – initially consisting of rest, followed by physiotherapy for a guided strengthening program
  • Larger tears may require arthroscopic surgery. In some cases the tear can be repaired, while in other instances the injured portion of the meniscus is trimmed and removed.

More information

  • The menisci have a relatively poor blood supply, with the outer portion, often known as the “red zone”, being the most vascularized. If the tear is small (<3mm) and located on the outer portion of the meniscus it has a better chance of healing than a tear that extends to an area with a poorer blood supply 


At Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy our highly qualified physiotherapists specialise in the assessment, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal injuries.



Contact us today – 9252 5770


This handout was prepared by Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy and is intended as a general information service. Please note that the information provided is not intended as a substitute for advice from a registered physician or healthcare professional. If symptoms persist, please consult your doctor.

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