The meniscus are pieces of fibrocartilage (connective tissue) that are located between the tibia (lower leg) and femur (thigh bone) in the knee joint. The meniscus provides structural integrity to the knee joint, disperse forces across the knee joint and prevent friction during movement.
Meniscal tears can happen during any activity but are more common in forces applied during sporting activities or other forms of physical exertion. A twisting movement at the knee with the leg bent is the most common form in the acute injury while degenerative changes from wear and tear are common in older patients. Symptoms include pain and swelling, inability to straighten the leg, joint locking, popping or clicking in the knee and tenderness when pressing on the meniscus. Upon proper physical examination it is necessary to rule out other conditions of the knee that may mimic a meniscal tear. Treatment usually starts with rehabilitation to strengthen the weak knee musculature and to provide stability to the injured area. Active Release Technique and Functional Range Release are used to release any tension, fibrosis or scarring in the surrounding muscles and fascia and acupuncture can be used for inflammation control and modulation of the nervous system. Kinesiotape can also be utilized to provide proprioceptive feedback to the tissues and speed up the healing process.