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Meniscal Tear (Torn Knee Cartilage) Treatment in Illinois

Protect Your Knee from Further Injury & Call Our Orthopedists Today

A torn meniscus is a very common sports injury affecting cartilage in the knee. Cartilage is the tough, resilient material responsible for absorbing impact and cushioning contact between bones. In the knee joint, two masses of cartilage comprise the meniscus, resting between the shin (tibia) and thigh (femur) bones, behind the kneecap (patella). Meniscal tear results from contact or injury to the cartilage, which results in damage and instability.

Cause of a Meniscal Tear

A direct, forceful blow to the knee may cause damage to the meniscus, but the cartilage can also be torn without contact. On the football field, for example, players suffer meniscal tears resulting from blocks and tackles, but pivoting off a planted foot can also tear the cartilage without the player taking a hit. Due to the intricate, interconnected nature of the knee’s structure, an acute meniscal tear often occurs along with other knee injuries.

Degenerative causes may also lead to meniscus injuries, as the cartilage thins and weakens with age. Repetitive stress and deterioration of menisci make them more susceptible to tears, most often occurring in middle-age and beyond.

Description of a Meniscal Tear

The rounded surface of the femur bone meets the tibia at the knee, relying on ligaments and other soft tissue to keep the joint stable and aligned. On each side of the knee, triangular pads of cartilage serve important functions. Not only to the menisci act as shock absorbers, but they also lubricate the knee joint and stabilize its structure. Without the cartilage and other tissue present to soften the contact between bones, routine movements would place extraordinary stress on the joint. Thin toward the center and thicker on the outside; the wedge-shaped menisci drastically reduce the force of impact at the knee joint. Meniscal tear results from age-related degeneration, or acute causes, such as athletic injury.

Symptoms of a Meniscal Tear

Torn knee cartilage commonly leads to the following symptoms:

  • You may feel a “pop” in the knee
  • Pain in the knee
  • The knee becomes stiff and swollen two to three days following injury
  • Catching or locking of the knee
  • The sensation of the knee “giving way”
  • Inability to move the knee through full range of motion
  • Knee may slip or lock

Early diagnosis can prevent further damage from occurring and can help relieve pain sooner. Don’t wait; contact our knee pain specialists at Fox Valley Orthopedics by calling (630) 584-1400 today.