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Meniscus Tear

  • What is a meniscus tear?

    The meniscus is a small C-shaped cartilage that acts as a cushion in the knee joint, protecting it from wear and tear and helping to stabilise the joint. There are 2 menisci that sit between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia), one is on the inside of the knee (medial) and one is on the outside (lateral).

    A meniscus tear occurs when one of these pieces of cartilage in the knee is injured and/or torn.

    Meniscus tear

  • A meniscus tear occurs when the knee is subjected to pressure and rotation or twisting while the foot is firmly planted. Even simple, everyday actions such as kneeling, squatting or lifting something heavy can result in a meniscus tear.

    Those at particular risk include:

    • athletes involved in contact sports or sports like tennis and basketball that require pivoting
    • persons who are overweight
    • older persons, who are more likely to have degenerative changes in the knees
  • The symptoms of a meniscus tear in the knee include:

    • popping sensation, indicating that a piece of cartilage has come loose
    • pain on either side of the knee, especially upon contact
    • tenderness at the joint line area
    • swelling at the joint line area
    • difficulty moving your knee
    • limited range of movement
    • feeling like your knee is locking or catching
    • feeling like your knee is giving way or unable to support your weight
  • To diagnose a meniscus tear, your doctor will need to ask about your injury and conduct a physical examination to check your knee’s range of movement. Special tests that involve bending, straightening and rotating your knee can help determine if you have a meniscus tear.

    Imaging tests such as an MRI may be recommended to help your doctor evaluate the extent of injury. X-rays may be advised to eliminate other causes of knee pain.

    In the event that the tests above are unable to determine the cause of your knee pain, an arthroscopy may be performed. This technique involves making small incisions that allow the doctor to insert a camera so that he or she is able to see the injury more clearly.

  • Some meniscus tears may heal on their own, although surgery can be done to repair the tears faster. Otherwise, the Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) protocol is advised:

    • Rest – take a break from the activity that caused the injury
    • Ice – use cold packs on the injury for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day
    • Compression – use an elastic compression bandage to prevent further swelling
    • Elevation – to reduce swelling, lean back or lay down during rest, and lift the leg up higher than the heart

    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling.

    If surgery is needed to repair or remove the pieces of the torn meniscus, this is usually done by arthroscopy (minimally invasive surgery).

    Consult an orthopaedic surgeon to determine the treatment method most suitable for your condition.


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  • A torn meniscus can cause long-term problems, constant rubbing of the torn meniscus on the cartilage may cause the joint surface to become worn, leading to knee osteoarthritis.

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    • Alan Cheung

      Specialty:
      Orthopaedic Surgery

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      Clinic:
      International Orthopaedic Clinic
      Location:
      38 Irrawaddy Road #05-24
      Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
      Singapore 329563
      Contact No:
      6253 7111
    • Anandakumar S/O Vellasamy

      Specialty:
      Orthopaedic Surgery

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      Clinic:
      Centre For Foot And Ankle Surgery
      Location:
      38 Irrawaddy Road #10-34/35
      Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
      Singapore 329563
      Contact No:
      6684 5828
    • Andrew Quoc Dutton

      Specialty:
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      Clinic:
      Elite Orthopaedics Pte Ltd
      Location:
      3 Mount Elizabeth #12-10
      Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
      Singapore 228510
      Contact No:
      6836 8000
    • Ang Chia Liang

      Specialty:
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      Sub-specialty:
      Orthopaedic Surgery - Sports Medicine

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      Clinic:
      Centurion Orthopaedic Centre
      Location:
      38 Irrawaddy Road #08-35
      Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
      Singapore 329563
      Contact No:
      6970 5835
    • Ang Kian Chuan

      Specialty:
      Orthopaedic Surgery

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      Clinic:
      Orthosports Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine
      Location:
      38 Irrawaddy Road #10-41
      Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
      Singapore 329563
      Contact No:
      6734 8168
    • Antony Gardner

      Specialty:
      Orthopaedic Surgery

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      Clinic:
      Orthopaedic Associates
      Location:
      38 Irrawaddy Road #11-49/50/51
      Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
      Singapore 329563
      Contact No:
      6334 0622
      Clinic:
      Orthopaedic Associates
      Location:
      3 Mount Elizabeth #16-03
      Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
      Singapore 228510
      Contact No:
      62358755
    • Bell David Paul

      Specialty:
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      Clinic:
      Orthosports Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine
      Location:
      38 Irrawaddy Road #10-41
      Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
      Singapore 329563
      Contact No:
      6734 8168
    • Bose Kamal

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      Clinic:
      Bose Bone, Joint & Spine Clinic
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      3 Mount Elizabeth #14-12
      Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
      Singapore 228510
      Contact No:
      67387155
    • Chan Beng Kuen

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      Clinic:
      Orthopaedics International
      Location:
      3 Mount Elizabeth #06-03
      Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
      Singapore 228510
      Contact No:
      67376386
    • Chan Ying Ho Henry

      Specialty:
      Orthopaedic Surgery

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      Clinic:
      Hc Orthopaedic Surgery
      Location:
      3 Mount Elizabeth #15-14
      Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
      Singapore 228510
      Contact No:
      6732 8848

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