Causes of Meniscus tears
Meniscus can tear in an athletic event when the athlete performs a plant and twist of the leg such as when changing direction This would be a traumatic event. It can also occur over time due to normal wear and tear in a body. This would be a degenerative tear. Degenerative tearing is a rather common injury with as many as 16% of women 50-59 and >50% of men 70-90 years old having meniscus tears.
Symptoms Of Meniscus Tears
When you tear your meniscus you may feel a pop in your knee. This may be followed by:
- Locking or catching of the knee joint
- Decreased range of motion
Studies indicate that over 60% of degenerative meniscus tears may be pain free, and when/if the do become painful, surgery is not the best option. When a patient undergoes the removal of the meniscus there is no longer as much shock absorption taking place through the cartilage, this has been shown to lead to faster degeneration of the knee joint leading to osteoarthritis.
Non-surgical treatment has been found to be just as effective in relieving symptoms of meniscus pain, and you get to keep all your parts as an added bonus! This approach utilizes exercises and movement as a way to take pressure off of the meniscus and improve how all of your joints work together.
When it comes to degenerative meniscus tears the two most common causes are weakness of the hips/ankles and tightness of the ankle/knee muscles.
Your femur is controlled by a complex arrangement of muscles at the hip and in the thigh, pictured below.