Damage to the Meniscus

Read our quick guide about damage to the meniscus and the possible causes behind it, symptoms and treatment.

A damage to the meniscus may be sustained on both the inside and the outside of the knee. In younger people, the injury is often sustained during sports activities, and violent twisting is the most common cause of this. In middle-aged and elderly people, damage to the meniscus may be sustained with relatively little force, such as when standing up from crouching.

Possible causes

  • Violent twisting.
  • Hyperextension.
  • Deep knee-bending (elderly people).


  • Pain on twisting, hyperextension and deep knee-bending.
  • Locking sensation, getting stuck.
  • Pain on pressure.
  • Impaired mobility in the knee.
  • Pain on pressure over the joint space, and possibly swelling.
  • Reduced strength in the front thigh muscle.


  • Emergency attention (see below).
  • Operation in which the damaged part of the meniscus is removed or sewn together.
  • Rehabilitation programme gradually increasing in intensity.
  • No return to sport until satisfactory mobility, strength, balance and coordination have been achieved.
  • Use a brace to complement rehabilitation.


Emergency attention:

When a traumatic injury is sustained, it is important for attention to be given quickly and correctly. This involves:

1) Pressure bandage – reduces bleeding and swelling. A compression pad placed over the injury. An elastic bandage extended properly (75-100% of its elasticity) is wound around the injury site. The injury site must be covered properly – 10 cm below and 10 cm above the actual point of injury.

2) Raise the limb – reduces swelling.

3) Coldness – provides local pain relief.

4) Rest/pressure relief – reduces the risk of an increase in bleeding and swelling.

After 20-30 minutes, the pressure bandage is replaced with a compression bandage, extended 50%. This bandage is used for as long as the swelling persists and can be reapplied if so required. Rest and pressure relief are important initially, but mobility training and a gradual increase in pressure should commence as quickly as possible. Alternative training is recommended to maintain fitness, mobility and strength.


Recommended products for damaged meniscus: