Along with ligaments, muscles, and tendons, menisci are the soft tissue structures that stabilize and cushion the knee-joint. Meniscus are tough, rubbery wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as “shock absorbers” between the thighbone and shinbone. There are two menisci in a normal knee; the outside one is called the lateral meniscus, the inner one the medial meniscus.
People who play contact sports – such as tackle football – are at risk for meniscal tears. Anyone is susceptible, though. A meniscus tear is most often caused by traumatic injury or degenerative disease, such as osteoarthritis. The movement that causes the tear is when the knee joint is bent (such as in a squatting position) and the knee is then twisted.
Symptoms of a torn meniscus include knee pain, stiffness or swelling of the knee, tenderness, popping or clicking within the knee, catching or locking of the knee, and/or limited range of motion of the knee joint.