Inside of the knee joint are two menisci. They are disc-shaped pieces of cartilage that provide cushion between the femur (thighbone) and the tibia (shinbone). Menisci do not regenerate or heal, and overtime can become weakened from overuse, repetitive stress, or due to the aging process. This degeneration can result in tearing.
Acute meniscus tear: typically the result of a forceful twisting injury to the knee. This often occurs when playing sports, and is most prevalent in the younger population.
Degenerative meniscus tear: Over time, cartilage wears and becomes thin, becoming more prone to tears. A simple “miss-step” or awkward turn of the knee could result in a degenerative tear. Degenerative tears often occur in the setting of advanced arthritis of the knee.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear include pain, stiffness, swelling, and difficulty with range of motion. Meniscal tears can cause catching or locking of the knee joint.