You have two C-shaped discs of cartilage (soft tissue) that connect your thigh bone to your shinbone. These are called menisci. They’re like shock absorbers for your bones. They also help to keep your knee stable.
Athletes who play contact sports like football and hockey are prone to meniscus tears. But you can also get this injury when you kneel, squat, or lift something heavy. The risk of injury increases as you get older, when bones and tissues around the knee begin to wear down.
If you tear your meniscus, your leg might swell and feel stiff. You might feel pain when twisting your knee, or be unable to straighten your leg fully.
Treatment for a meniscus tear will depend on its size, what kind it is, and where it’s located within the cartilage. Most likely, your doctor will recommend that you rest, use pain relievers, and apply ice to you knee to keep the swelling down. He may also suggest physical therapy. This will help to strengthen the muscles around your knee and keep it stable.
If these treatments don’t work — or if your injury is severe — he might recommend surgery. To be sure, your doctor will probably have an MRI done. And he might look at the tear with an arthroscope. That’s a thin tool that has a camera and light at the end. It allows doctors to see inside your joints.