One of the commonest injuries in the knee in the active sportsman is a tear of the medial meniscus. The menisci are 2 crescent shaped structures that sit on the inner and outer aspect of the knee joint. They serve as a cushion and shock absorber for the knee.
Injuries are often due to a twisting injury to the knee with it bearing weight, e.g. as in a tackle in football or rugby.
The patient feels a severe pain in his knee and often has to stop playing. He is unable to extend his knee completely, a condition called "locking". There is mainly pain over the medical side of the knee if the medial meniscus is torn. Next day, there will be swelling. The patient often feels the knee "giving way".
The diagnosis is usually made clinically, but sometimes an Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a test in which magnetic waves are used to show an image of the meniscus is done.
This is a procedure in which 2 small holes are made in the front of the knee and a camera in inserted into one and instruments into the other to remove the meniscus. The instruments consists of special scissors, probes, graspers and biters to remove the men
This is usually a "day care" procedure, that is, the patient is admitted in the morning and discharged the next day. He may need crutches for one to two days. The recovery period back to games may range from 2 weeks to 4 weeks. He usually can return to work by the 2nd or 3rd day.
Post-operatively, his knee muscles will require strengthening . This is usually supervised by a sports physiotherapist. He can usually return to normal games.