Meniscus are ring-like cartilage structures that sit in the knee joint. There are two, one on the inside and one on the outside of the knee joint. The function of the menisci is to cushion the knee joint and provide a frictionless surface during movement in the knee (bending and straightening).
The meniscus are subject to wear and tear due to daily activities of living and sports play. It can fray with aging or get torn with sports or trauma. It can even be overgrown at birth, called a discoid meniscus which can cause pain and dysfunction.
Symptoms of a meniscal tear can be pain, limited motion, swelling and a ‘catching’ or ‘locking’ of the knee. Minor tears can be managed with conservative medicine like physical therapy. Tears that cause significant pain, dysfunction and locking require surgical intervention.
A physical therapist will work with you to reduce the pain and inflammation, stabilize, strengthen and stretch around the knee joint. It can take a few weeks to a couple of months to resolve itself with physical therapy. A physical therapist will also recommend if conversative care is not enough.