Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Understanding the Different Fees
Estimate of Financial Liability
Pay a Bill
United Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Shared Expectations for Communication
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Teens
The offensive line had been opening big holes in the defense for Dylan to run through all game, and he’d already scored two touchdowns as a result. But on one play a defender closed the hole and stood him up until more defenders came and helped. As Dylan was forced to the ground, his knee got caught under him and bent awkwardly, and he felt a little pop.
The team’s trainer told Dylan to take the rest of the game off and ice his knee. The next day his knee was still tender and a little swollen, so he went to see a doctor. The doctor asked questions and examined the knee. He sent Dylan for an MRI scan, and when Dylan came back for the results he learned he’d torn his meniscus and might need surgery to fix it.
Your knee is made up of three bones: the thighbone (femur), the shinbone (tibia), and the kneecap (patella), as well as the soft tissue that connects them. Between your femur and your tibia are two C-shaped discs of cartilage. They act as shock absorbers for the bones and help keep your knee stable. These C-shaped discs are your menisci (plural of meniscus). They can be torn, particularly if the knee twists suddenly while it is bent.
Viewed from the front or back, the meniscus is wedge shaped. This shape helps keep the rounded surface of your femur from sliding off the flat top of your tibia. The outer edges of this wedge receive a good supply of blood, and tears in this part of the meniscus heal well on their own. But the inner part of the meniscus has no direct blood supply to help it heal. Tears in this area might need surgery.
A torn meniscus is a common sports injury, particularly in contact sports like football and hockey. Meniscus tears can range from minor to severe, depending on the extent of the damage, and they can make it difficult for the knee to function properly.
The symptoms of a torn meniscus will vary depending on the severity of the tear. Someone who gets a minor tear may only have slight pain and swelling that goes away after 2 or 3 weeks.
Moderate to severe tears also might cause these symptoms:
If you see a doctor about pain in your knee, he or she will ask how you injured it and what it feels like. The doc will also review your medical history to see if the pain might be caused by something other than a torn meniscus.
The doctor will examine your knee to see if you have any tenderness in the area where your meniscus sits. To see if pain is caused by a meniscus tear, a doctor might ask you to squat. The doctor might also bend, straighten, and rotate your knee.
The doctor also might order an X-ray to check for other conditions that can cause knee pain or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to get a better look at the soft tissue of your knee. X-rays and MRIs are the best way to “look” inside the knee without doing surgery.
Older people often get meniscus tears because their menisci become brittle and less flexible with age. But for teens, meniscus tears usually happen because of an injury — often after twisting or turning the knee while it is bent and the foot is firmly planted. This might happen when:
Meniscus tears often happen along with other knee injuries such as ligament tears.
Because they generally happen without any warning, meniscus tears can be hard to prevent. You can reduce your risk, though, by taking these precautions:
Minor tears usually don’t need surgery, especially if they are on the outer part of the meniscus where there is a good supply of blood. These tears should heal on their own fairly quickly. Treatment can include the following:
For severe tears or tears that don’t respond to other forms of treatment, a doctor may have to perform surgery. Usually, this will be in the form of arthroscopic surgery, where a small camera is inserted into the knee to help surgeons see what they’re doing without having to open the knee up.
Sometimes a surgeon can repair a torn meniscus. Other times, the surgeon will trim away the torn piece of the meniscus to stop it from interfering with the way the knee works. If you get surgery, the doctor may put your knee in a brace afterwards. This keeps the knee from moving around it while it heals. You might need to use crutches for a while.
As with any sports injury, the key to healing meniscus tears — no matter how minor — is not to get back into play too quickly. Your body (and performance) will be stronger if you wait until your doctor gives you the OK to get back in the game./p>
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (or runner’s knee) is the most common overuse injury among runners, but it can also happen to other athletes who do activities that require a lot of knee bending.
Jumper’s knee is an overuse injury that happens when frequent jumping, running, and changing direction damages the patellar tendon.
It’s fun to play and great exercise, but basketball is also a contact sport, and injuries happen. To stay safe on the basketball court, follow these safety tips.
Injuries can be common, and runners should always be aware of their surroundings. To keep things safe while running, follow these tips.
Caroline loved sports. But when an ongoing knee injury kept her from playing the sports she loved, she discovered new interests. Read her story.
Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines.
MCL injuries happen when excessive pressure is put on the knee joint, causing a torn ligament.
Playing hard doesn’t have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how.
Soccer is easy to learn at a young age, and it’s great exercise. But it’s also a contact sport, and injuries are bound to happen. To help prevent mishaps, follow these safety tips.
You practiced hard and made sure you wore protective gear, but you still got hurt. Read this article to find out how to take care of sports injuries – and how to avoid getting them.
It’s not always easy to tell if you have a stress fracture, and stress fractures can get worse quickly. This article explains how to prevent and treat them.
This site has tips on things like preparing for a new season, handling sports pressure, staying motivated, and dealing with injuries.
Sprains and strains are common injuries, especially for people who play hard or are intoÂ sports. Find out what they are and how to recuperate from one.
ACL injuries can happen in active and athletic kids when excessive pressure is put on the knee joint, resulting in a torn ligament.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2019 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.