The Meniscus consists of two circular pads that sit on top of the shin bone and act as a shock absorber between the thigh bone and the shin bone. Contrary to popular belief, they are exceptionally strong and robust. Back in the late 1970’s/1980’s, the Meniscus was deemed as an unimportant part of the knee and was routinely removed during knee surgery/operations. As our knowledge of the human body has evolved, we have grown to be much more aware of how important this structure is. It has also been shown recently that knee arthroscopy surgery is no more efficient than conservative treatment (rehabilitation and strength training). This is worth noting before any decisions about treatment are made. See our blog post here regarding these findings.
Our Approach to Care
The meniscus themselves have a very poor blood supply. They are divided into 3 key areas, the inner, middle and outer region. The outer region have a better blood supply than the inner region (which incidentally has zero blood supply) and therefore has a much better prognosis for repair.
Most meniscal injuries heal very well with conservative care. The only time surgery is required is when true mechanical locking occurs. This is when the knee actually locks in place and cannot be moved. It is important to not confuse this with clicking noises (which can be a common sign and symptom of meniscal injury). The use of therapeutic ultrasound can also help increase healing times are rates due to the stimulation of repair cells to the area.