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Everything you need to know about a torn meniscus

A torn meniscus is one of the most common injuries to the knee and can happen in just about any profession. To understand what a torn meniscus is and how to identify it, it's important to first review the anatomy of the knee.

Knee anatomy

The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body. It is also very prone to injury.

The knee is made up of:

  • Four major bones: the tibia (shinbone), fibula (bone alongside tibia), femur (thighbone) and patella (kneecap).
  • Tendons connecting bone to muscle which allows for movement
  • Ligaments connecting bone to bone for joint stability
  • Two pieces of cartilage which act as shock absorbers.
  • Bursae, or fluid-filled sacs, which help the knee move smoothly

When something in this complex joint isn't working properly, it can lead to significant pain and reduced mobility.

Torn meniscus

There are two pieces of cartilage in the knee: the medial and lateral menisci. One acts as a shock absorber from the femur and the other, from the tibia. The menisci are very prone to tears, especially as we age.

Symptoms of a torn meniscus

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Reduced mobility
  • Popping during or after the injury
  • Locking

A torn meniscus can happen anytime, and knowing the causes may aid in prevention.

Causes

  • Twisting
  • Rotating
  • Kneeling
  • Squatting
  • Lifting
  • Pivoting
  • Stopping

When a worker experiences an injury, such as a torn meniscus, mobility is often impacted. Depending on the type of job you hold, you may require special accommodations or time to recover. Not properly caring for a torn meniscus can lead to complications down the road, so prompt and proper care is of the utmost importance.

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