Knee Meniscal Tears

Knee meniscal or soft “cartilage tears” of the knee are very common clinical problems. In general, there are 2 types of meniscal tears, traumatic or degenerate meniscal tears


Degenerate tears are very common and often present with a gradual onset of aching discomfort aggravated by any turning or twisting movements. You may find it difficult to bend your knee fully, turn or squat. Degenerate tears of the meniscus by its very nature, are due to wear and tear. Overload and/or overuse of the joint over a period of months or years contributes to such symptoms.

If your knee pain is troublesome, it is important to important to understand how much of the knee pain is due to the meniscal tear and the relative contribution of underlying arthritis to your overall symptoms. This is done by clinical assessment and examination. Xrays and an MRI scan of the knee would help.

If you have mechanical knee symptoms, such as pain aggravated by turn or twisting movements, swelling, clicking or locking such that your quality of life is affected, knee arthroscopy may be needed.

This is an intra-operative video of a patient who has a knee meniscal tear being treated by key hole surgery of the knee (Knee Arthroscopy)


Meniscal tears due to trauma or injury to the knee are different from knee degenerate tears of the meniscus (see above) in the location of the tear and how it is managed.

Traumatic meniscal tears often occur in the vascularised zone of the meniscus (unlike degenerate meniscal tears) and may need to be repaired with sutures rather than trimmed or partially resected.

The mechanism of knee injury, ongoing symptoms and MRI scans of the knee would allow surgeons to fully assess the extent of the tear and associated injuries such as possible ligamentous rupture.


If you undergo knee arthroscopy, Mr. Kim will direct and monitor your postoperative care, which often involves an exercise program. It is important that you comply with such exercises and instructions. In the first week or so, the use of ice, long leg stockings and stretches would be crucial.

Therafter, it is important to understand that more often than not, there are underlying muscular and postural factors which, if correctly identified and improved on with a personalised exercise program would ensure the best possible outcome for you.

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