Meniscus injuries are the fourth most common injury in runners according to a study of over 2000 runners seeeking medical care.
The meniscus is a crescent shaped structure that provides cushioning and stability in the knee joint.A tear in this cartilage may occurr from twisting in a squatted position. Symptoms include a locking or catching sensation in the knee as well as swelling. The average age of runners with a menicsus injury is 43 years old and males are twice as likely to experience a tear. Degenerative meniscal tears are more common in older runners and may or may not cause any symptoms.
Recent research has demonstrated that a simple test is highly accurate at diagnosing a meniscus injury. Furthermore, this test is infrequently wrong. To perform the test you stand on the injured leg and squat a third of the way down. Next, move your knee inward and outward while keeping your shoulders and hips pointed straight forward. If this maneuver cause pain in the area of the meniscus (see diagram), then it is quite likely that you have a meniscus injury.
If you feel you may have a meniscus tear you will need to be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon who will most likely recommend getting an MRI to diagnose the injury. For more information and a surgeon’s perspective of treatment click here.