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Overview of the Meniscus

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Presentation: Meniscus and Meniscal Tears
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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There are two C-shaped pieces of cartilage in the knee, called meniscal cartilage, that sit between the thighbone and shinbone. One is on the inside and one is on the outside of the knee joint. When you talk about both of the meniscal cartilages together, they are called menisci. The menisci act as shock absorbers between the shinbone and thighbone.
Injuries to the menisci can occur from twisting the knee too far or simply because of wear and tear from getting older.
There are many types of meniscal tears. They can tear in all directions, up and down, across, or any of those combined.
When a meniscus is torn, it is common to feel knee pain, especially when your knee is bent. It is also common to feel a clicking or popping in your knee and even have it lock up at times. Sometimes, it is difficult to straighten the knee out again.
If your doctor thinks your meniscus is torn, possible treatments might include:
• Rest
• Medication
• Activity level changes
• And physical therapy.
If symptoms do not get better with these treatments, a knee arthroscopy may be recommended to repair or remove the torn meniscus. Knee arthroscopy uses a specialized camera called an arthroscope to look inside the knee.

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