The meniscus is a C-shaped rubbery pad of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber. It helps to cushion and stabilise your knee during movement.
Effectively it helps distribute the body’s weight across the knee joint and essentially enables the leg bones to fit together properly (or gives the joint ‘congruity’). There are two menisci in each knee, namely the medial meniscus on the inside of your knee and the lateral meniscus on the outside.
Twisting when the foot is planted can cause a tear in the meniscus; this subsequently creates an uneven surface that serves to irritate the knee joint by generating pain, swelling and stiffness.
It is also worth mentioning meniscus tears can occur as a consequence of ageing as the menisci can become weaker and thinner as we age.
Minor tears frequently settle spontaneously. Typically older patients with minor degenerative tears may also require a period of conservative management (although more prolonged). The majority of more profound meniscus tears may require surgery.