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Meniscus Injury - Cartilage Tear and Athletic Activities

— National Association for Sport and Physical Education
Updated on Jul 26, 2007

The knee is made up of two separate pieces of meniscus or cartilage (medial-inside; lateral-outside) attached to top of the larger lower leg bone (tibia). Meniscus exists on either side of the knee where it bends and act as a cushion between the upper leg bone (femur) and the tibia.

A meniscal tear (also known as a cartilage tear) often occurs in the knee when an athlete is weight bearing combined with a rotary force while extending or flexing the knee. Symptoms of a cartilage tear can include loss of knee motion, a limited amount of knee flexion or extension before the knee feels “locked”, a popping or snapping sensation, and/or severe pain and swelling in and/or around the knee. Sometimes a meniscus tear may be associated with an additional ligament sprain.

Treatment of Meniscal Injuries.
It is important for the knee injury to be seen by an athletic trainer or team physician as soon as possible in order for joint structures to be tested. It is more difficult to test for knee joint damage when swelling is allowed to develop. If you are not able to have a qualified person test the knee, apply the R.I.C. E. principle and transport the athlete to a physician for proper diagnosis and care.

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