Cartilage tears

The knee has two cartilage washers called menisci that help to spread the load across the joint and make the surfaces of the knee more congruent (fit better). These cartilage washers can be torn during exercise and sports or can tear because they have become worn. They often cause pain on the inside or outside of the knee and can also cause locking, clicking and swelling of the knee

Normal meniscus

Torn meniscus

During the arthroscopy a decision is made on whether the tear can be repaired or has to be trimmed off

If the tear is trimmed away (like a torn fingernail) recovery is rapid with most patients back to normal by 3 weeks. You are able to walk on the knee immediately, but it will be painful and swollen for the first week or two. Often in uncomplicated surgery you will be discharged directly to physiotherapy and will not require follow up in the outpatients clinic.

If the tear is repaired recovery is a little slower to give the meniscus time to heal. You will be partially weight bearing with the aid of elbow crutches and we limit the amount you can bend the knee for the first six weeks.

Most patients are absolutely fine following simple partial menisectomy, however if there has been a large or total previous meniscetomy the loss of protective shock absorption and load sharing in the knee can lead to pain, discomfort and swelling. This may come on only with impact or repetitive activities in these cases a meniscal replacement may be required