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Meniscal tears in the knee

What is Meniscal Damage?

There are two meniscal cartilages in the knee that act as shock-absorbers – one on the inner and one on the outer side. They are made up of a different type of cartilage to joint surface cartilage and sit between the thigh bone and the shin bone.

Their job is to evenly distribute forces across the knee, allowing the bones to glide smoothly without friction. They also provide stability in the joint.

Loss of meniscal tissue means that there is uneven weight distribution and force between the joint surfaces in the knee, which can lead to arthritis.

Brendan back on the bike

Brendan’s bi-lateral knee osteotomy story

“Cycling about 300 miles a month and a hill walking holiday within 12 months of a knee osteotomy following a torn meniscus fifteen years previously.”

What causes meniscal tears?

Meniscal tears are more common in people aged over 45. It’s more common to damage the inner meniscus than the outer meniscus.

  • Acute tears: these can be caused by an injury, often as a result of twisting on a bent knee during rugby or football or other sports. Around 60% of patients who tear their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) also damage one or both menisci at the same time
  • Degenerative tears: these can happen during a simple everyday activity such as bending down or going upstairs

Meniscal tears

Knee consultants

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