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What is a torn meniscus?

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Quick Answer

A torn meniscus is when the meniscus, which is located either on the outer or inner side of the knee, is torn and is no longer connected to the knee bone, and either the femur or the tibia, reports the Department of Orthopaedics and Sport Medicine at the University of Washington. Each person has four menisci with two surrounding each knee, according to MayoClinic.

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Full Answer

A torn meniscus is caused when a patient performs a movement that forces the knee to rotate or twist unnaturally. The meniscus is especially vulnerable when the person puts his full body weight on the knee while performing the movement, states MayoClinic. For this reason, many sports can cause this injury. Lifting something heavy and turning the knee while doing so can also cause the meniscus to tear, reports WebMD. The meniscus becomes more prone to tearing as a person ages.

Meniscus tears range from minor to severe and require different types of treatment depending on the severity of the tear, according to MayoClinic. For minor tears in the meniscus, professional treatment is usually not needed. For moderate tears in the meniscus, treatment such as pain medications or surgery may be needed. For severe tears in the meniscus, surgery is always needed. Regardless of the type of tear, it is also recommended that patients utilize the standard rest and ice treatment at home to help with pain and healing.

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