Meniscus rupture of the knee and knee pain

Meniscus rupture (meniscus injury)

A meniscus fracture / meniscus injury can affect the medial meniscus and / or the lateral meniscus. Meniscus rupture means that there has been a tear in the fibrous cartilage tissue inside the knee which we call the meniscus. A meniscus rupture can occur acutely due to trauma or due to prolonged wear / error load - a so-called degenerative meniscus rupture. Injuries to the medial meniscus are most common. Feel free to contact us at our Facebook page or use the comment box at the bottom of the article if you have questions.


Menisk: What is it? And what is the function of the meniscus?

We have two menisci. The menisci are made of a relatively hard and fibrous cartilage mass that is located between the femur and the largest, innermost, of the two tibia. The two menisci are lateral meniscus (outer) and medial meniscus (inside) - as indicated in the names we find the medial meniscus on the inside of the knee attached to the medial aspect of the tibia and we thus find the lateral meniscus on the outside of the knee attached to the lateral aspect of the tibia. The menisci hold as much as 30-50% of their body weight - which underlines their importance.



- Anatomy: Here we see what the menisci look like inside the knee. The first image shows the right knee seen from the front and the second image shows the contents of the knee seen from above. Here we see both lateral (outer) meniscus and medial (inner) meniscus.


The meniscus acts as a weight transmitter of body weight against the knee and knee joint. The main function of the meniscus is thus to ensure a uniform load / weight distribution against the two shin bones (tibia and fibula). In the event of a dysfunction or injury in the meniscus, we risk an uneven load which over time can result in wear and tear and early osteoarthritis. This can occur, for example, after a traumatic knee injury among athletes, such as handball players and soccer players.


Weak seat muscles (gluteal muscles) are also considered to be a major contributing cause of this diagnosis and knee problems in general.


Symptoms of meniscus rupture

In acute meniscus rupture, there will normally be both pain in the knee and swelling. The pain will normally be most pronounced along the actual knee joint on the front. Meniscus injury can also cause symptoms such as clicking in the knee and feeling that the knee locks in certain movements - or that it is difficult to stretch the leg / knee completely. The pain will primarily be present when there is a load on the knee (for example when jogging / running) and will decrease considerably when this load decreases / is removed. We must keep in mind that there can be damage to several structures in traumatic meniscus injury - such as the anterior cruciate ligament.


Symptoms of medial meniscus rupture: The pain will primarily be located more towards the inside, the medial aspect, of the knee.

Symptoms of lateral meniscus: The pain is more localized to the outer part of the knee - on the lateral aspect.


Cause: What is the cause of meniscus / meniscus injury?

The most common cause of meniscus injury is trauma to the knee when in a twisted and bent position. Stress over time can also lead to a so-called wear / degenerative meniscus rupture. The latter type of meniscus injury usually occurs in the age group 40 years and up, but can occur at any age, especially if the person is overweight and has poor / weak stability muscles in the hip, thighs and calves.


meniscus Glance

- An image showing the anatomical location of the menisci in the knee.


Prevention and training of meniscus rupture / meniscus injury

There are several ways to keep your meniscus as healthy as possible:


Balance Training: Balance and coordination training on the balance pad or balance board can work both injury prevention and performance enhancement. Regular balance training provides the muscles with faster reaction time, allowing them to contract faster and protect the knee's structures through sudden twists or loads.

Foot strength training: Many people forget that the foot is the first defense when it comes to shock absorption and reducing strain on the knee, hip, pelvis and back when stepping down. Consequently, they forget to train the foot in the same way as they train other muscle groups and areas. A strong foot muscle can lead to more correct load and more shock absorption. Among other things, the plantar fasciae'n has a very important dampening effect. The foot needs training and love it too. The only problem is that most people do not know how to strengthen the arch of the foot and the leg - but you can quickly find out by reading our articles on exercises and strengthening the foot.


Hip Training: The hip and hip muscles are actually some of the most important structures when it comes to preventing knee injuries (including meniscus fractures), as well as training / rehabilitation after an injury to the knee. An extremely important area for those who like to run, football players and handball players - to name a few. The hip acts as a shock absorber and limits the load on the menisci, which we previously mentioned can carry up to 30-50% of body weight.


Also read: - 10 Exercises That Give Stronger Hips

Side leg lift with elastic


Thigh training: Strong and functional front (quadriceps) and back (hamstrings) of the thigh are very important when it comes to preventing knee injuries.


Core musculature: A good and strong core muscle can contribute to more correct movement and thus work injury prevention.


Also read: - How to get Stronger and Softer Back

Extensive back


Diet: All structures in the body depend on good blood circulation and proper nutrition - a varied diet with lots of vegetables is recommended. Vitamin C, for example, is one of the most important sources (pre-derative) of collagen and elastin - two nutrients used for tendon and soft tissue repair. Glucosamine sulfate is another example of an industry that has shown good results in research - against e.g. knee pain and osteoarthritis of the knee.


Imaging diagnostic examination of meniscus rupture / meniscus injury

To determine if there is an injury in the knee, primarily clinical examination is used combined with history taking, but if these point to meniscus rupture - then it can be helpful to confirm this via MRI examination. An MRI has no X-rays and also uses magnetic resonance to provide an image of the knee's soft tissues, tendons and bone structures. Chiropractor, manual therapist and physician are the three primary contacts who can refer to such a study.


mr-as-cursor meniscus

- MRI examination showing a meniscus rupture in the medial meniscus; ie a medial meniscus rupture / meniscus injury.


Meniscus rupture

Recent research has led to new guidelines and these confirm, among other things, that there is little point in operating on degenerative meniscus fractures in those over 35 years - this is especially due to the fact that exercise and exercises have proven better effect in this group of meniscus injuries.


Most people are often looking for a "quick fix", so many are disappointed when they realize that they actually have to train over time instead of flattening out on the operating table and putting their knee fate in the scalpel's hands. Think so tiring of having to address the reasons why the injury first occurred and in the same sling reduce the chance of recurrence.


Of course, there are also those who need knee surgery, but this applies primarily to those who have acutely injured the knee, for example, by a traumatic football tackle or the like.


What can I do even for knee pain?

1. General exercise, specific exercise, stretching and activity are recommended, but stay within the pain limit. Two walks a day of 20-40 minutes make good for the whole body and sore muscles.

2. Trigger point / massage balls we strongly recommend - they come in different sizes so you can hit well even on all parts of the body. There is no better self help than this! We recommend the following (click the image below) - which is a complete set of 5 trigger point / massage balls in different sizes:

trigger point balls

3. Training: Specific training with training tricks of various opponents (such as this complete set of 6 knits of different resistance) can help you train strength and function. Knit training often involves more specific training, which in turn can lead to more effective injury prevention and pain reduction.

4. Pain Relief - Cooling: Biofreeze is a natural product that can relieve pain by cooling the area gently. Cooling is especially recommended when the pain is very severe. When they have calmed down then heat treatment is recommended - it is therefore advisable to have both cooling and heating available.

5. Pain Relief - Heating: Warming up tight muscles can increase blood circulation and reduce pain. We recommend the following reusable hot / cold gasket (click here to read more about it) - which can be used both for cooling (can be frozen) and for heating (can be heated in the microwave).


Recommended products for pain relief for knee pain

Biofreeze spray-118Ml-300x300

Biofreeze (Cold / cryotherapy)


Conservative treatment of meniscus rupture

Regular and specific training is the gold standard in conservative meniscus treatment. We must emphasize that right away. You can see the types of training you should focus on higher up in the article.


Acupuncture / Needle Treatment: May loosen myofascial restrictions in the areas around the knee - which may provide some symptom relief, but primarily have no major effect on meniscus injuries.

Physiotherapy: A physiotherapist can help you set up a workout program and provide symptom-relieving physical therapy if needed.


chiropractor: Like physiotherapists, (modern) chiropractors have a strong focus on rehabilitation training and training in their 6-year education, and can thus provide you with a good training program and advice on how to proceed with your meniscus injury. Chiropractors also have the right of referral to imaging if necessary to confirm the knee injury.

Low-dose laser: Popularly called 'anti-inflammatory laser or sports injury laser'. Research has shown that this type of treatment can provide faster healing time in tendon injuries, but more research is needed in the area before it can be concluded whether this has any major effect on tendon injuries and meniscus injuries in the knee. But current research is positive.

Massage and muscle work: Can increase blood circulation in local sore leg and thigh muscles, but has no major effect on a meniscus rupture.


Good advice for acute knee injuries and suspected tendon or ligament damage

Seek out one clinician - it is important to diagnose the injury so that you know what is the best treatment and training further. Different diagnoses usually require different treatment plans. Even if you think that "this is over", it is simply stupid not to go to a publicly authorized clinician (chiropractor, physiotherapist, doctor or manual therapist) to be diagnosed with the problem - as a first examination usually does not cost more than 500 -700 NOK and does not take longer than 45-60 minutes. It's a bit like ignoring the 'strange sound' in the car for a long time - it can lead to unforeseen problems later in the year.


Rest: If it is painful to put weight on the leg, you should see a clinician to diagnose the symptoms and pain - and not least avoid doing so. Instead, use the RICE principle and focus on relieving the area with associated icing and compression (feel free to use a support sock or bandage). Total absence of movement, however, is not recommended.


Icing / cryotherapy: In the first 72 hours after the injury, icing (also called cryotherapy) is important. This is because there will be fluid accumulation and swelling after an injury - and this is normally very excessive on the part of the body. To calm this response, it is therefore important to cool the area immediately after the damage has occurred and then 4-5x cycles during the day. Then a so-called icing protocol is used, which means that you do not ice directly on the skin (to avoid frostbite injuries) and that you ice down in cycles of «15 minutes on, 20 minutes off, 15 minutes on».


Pain medication: After consulting a doctor or pharmacist, but keep in mind that NSAIDS (eg Ibux / ibuprofen) can lead to a significantly slower healing time and that the drug has side effects.



Do you need good advice, remedies and tips for damage to the meniscus?

Feel free to contact us directly via Comments Box below or via social media (e.g. vår Facebook-side). We will help you as best we can. Write as fully as you can about your complaint so that we have as much information as possible to make a decision.


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2 replies
  1. Ole says:

    I have been diagnosed with a horizontal rupture in the posterior horn on the medial meniscus. In addition, there are degenerative substance changes that continue down into the root ligament. Twisting knee during indoor soccer. A little hurt, but I kept playing. Jogged several times afterwards, but recovered greatly after a specific jog.

    I have been referred to an orthopedist and am awaiting summons. Is this an injury that requires surgery? I have understood it so that degenerative changes are not operated on? I injured myself in January and am afraid I have gone too long with the injury. Now we're in April. Male 39yrs

    • Nicolay v / Does Not Find says:

      Hi Ole,

      The guidelines have, as you indicate, now moved more away from surgery for wear and tear meniscus damage - and rather focus on specific training over a longer period of time. A larger meta-study (2018) has shown, among other things, that those who are over 40 do not have a greater improvement during surgery - than those who are just waiting. Operations also contain certain risky elements - including scarring or defects.

      Most likely, the orthopedist will only recommend training.

      Good luck and good recovery!


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