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The meniscus is a cartilage pad in the knee joint that acts as a shock absorber, protecting your knees as you walk, run and play sports. There are two of these pads in each knee. Twisting or over-flexing the knee can result in a meniscus tear, which is one of the most common causes of knee pain, especially in athletes. Our UF Health orthopaedic surgeons, who specialize in sports medicine, can help relieve the pain, restore your knee and get you back to your normal activities.

Meniscus tear: When should I get help?

If you’ve had a knee injury, see a sports medicine specialist if you are having these symptoms:

  • Swelling in the joint
  • Pain and stiffness, with limited range of motion
  • An audible click or a feeling that something is caught in the knee
  • Pain when walking

Diagnosis of your injury

Our highly trained specialists will do a thorough review of your symptoms and a physical exam of your knee. Other tests such as X-rays are commonly used to assess the overall status of the joint. A meniscus tear is also often confirmed with an MRI.

Our care for your meniscus tear

Not all tears require surgery. To decide on treatment, our specialist will evaluate the extent and location of your injury and the overall health of your knee. Some older adults may be suffering from tears caused by age-related wear and tear (arthritis), which might respond better to physical therapy and other nonsurgical approaches. For athletes, surgery might provide the best means to return to sports. Your physician will talk with you about all your options and help you decide what will provide you with the best possible outcome.

Nonsurgical treatment:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Injections, such as cortisone, to reduce inflammation
  • Physical therapy
  • Resting the joint in combination with ice and elevation

Surgical treatment:

Though conservative treatments may relieve symptoms, surgery is often required to repair a meniscus tear.

  • Our surgeons are highly trained in using minimally invasive surgical techniques to provide you with smaller incisions, lower chance of infection and faster recovery time.
  • Most often, the surgeon will repair the meniscus or trim the torn edges to save as much of the cartilage as possible if it is not repairable.
  • You will likely need physical therapy after surgery to regain full use of your knee.
  • Recovery can take a few weeks to a few months depending on the extent of your injury.

Meniscus tear: Our expertise

Accomplished specialists in their field

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a dedicated athlete or someone who simply twisted the wrong way, your meniscus tear is one of the most common knee injuries we treat. Our orthopaedic specialists have a wealth of experience in diagnosis and treatment and will work with you to create an individualized plan to get you off the sidelines and back into the game.

Advanced technologies and facilities

Our state-of-the-art equipment allows our orthopaedic surgeons to do their very best work. These advanced technologies — in the hands of our skilled surgeons — offer you a speedier recovery and help you get moving again as quickly and safely as possible.

Our locations

Our experts