Before we progress, let's clarify that what people call 'knee cartilages' are in fact the shock absorbers of the knee known medically as 'menisci' (singular='meniscus').

 

meniscus with arthroscopy photoThe following is a list of the more common 'knee cartilage' (meniscus) problems:

Meniscal tear

The meniscus may be torn in an injury, usually a twisting injury. There may be severe pain at the time. Maybe some swelling due to bleeding inside the joint. May progress to a feeling of instability and joint line tenderness.

Meniscal avulsion

The ends of the meniscus may be ripped up from their attachment to the underlying tibia bone, or the meniscus may tear away from the capsule at the side of the joint.

Meniscal degeneration

The meniscus wears out, becoming friable at its edges and less effective as a shock absorber.

Displaced tear with locking

bucket handle tear with lockingA specific type of tear of the meniscus, where the fragment flips over and locks the joint. This is the common cause of a knee which cannot fully straighten after and injury.

Broken off fragment with loose body

If the torn fragment breaks off it may float in the joint as a 'loose body', and cause catching or locking.

Meniscal cyst

A fluid-filled lump which you can feel at the joint line. Arises from the meniscus, often from a pre-existing horizontal cleavage tear (a hidden horizontal tear).

 

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