Sports Medicine

Meniscus Tears

Our Pediatric Sports Medicine team put together these videos to provide information for you.

Drew Warnick, MD

Hello my name is Doctor Drew Warnick, and I am the surgical director of AllSports Medicine at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. I am a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with special training in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine. 

In this video, we are going to discuss meniscus tears.

What is the Meniscus?

The meniscus is a C-Shaped cartilage in the knee joint. This cartilage serves a vital role in the protection and maintenance of the weight bearing surface of the knee. It functions to share load, absorb shock, reduce contact forces and provide stability to the knee joint. 

How is the Meniscus injured? 

Injury to the meniscus often happens during sporting activities, when a sudden twisting of the knee, pivoting, or deceleration causes a tear in the cartilage. A meniscus tear can also occur simultaneously with injury to other ligaments of the knee. 

How do I know if I have torn my Meniscus?

Young athletes whom tear their meniscus often describe a twisting type of mechanism or a direct blow to the knee. When the meniscus is torn, it can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, clicking, and popping in the knee joint. 

At AllSports Medicine, we will examine your knee with specific tests to help assess for a meniscus tear. X-rays and MRI are frequently used to confirm diagnosis and rule out other injuries. 

What are my treatment options?

At Allsports Medicine, we will develop a treatment plan for your torn meniscus.

The most appropriate treatment for a young athlete with a meniscus tear depends on location, size, and pattern of the tear. 

Some meniscal tears can heal without surgical intervention. Meniscal tears that cause continued pain, locking, or instability of the knee are often treated with arthroscopic surgery. 

Minimally invasive surgical techniques are available to repair or trim torn flaps in the meniscus. Repairing the meniscus can help preserve the shock-absorbing function of the meniscus that is important for the longevity of the knee joint. Most meniscal tears in the pediatric population are amenable to arthroscopic repair.

If a meniscus is repaired, return to activities is usually expected around 3 to 6 months.