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Cartilage Injury of the Knee (Meniscus Injury)

What is Cartilage / Meniscus Injury of the Knee?

The cartilage, or meniscus are 2 ‘C’ shaped shock absorbers that are placed either side of your knee and assist in providing cushioning and also some stability for your knee joint. These cartilages can be injured in a sudden incident such as twisting or squatting, or can suffer ‘micro’ injury due to repeated load. The cartilages can also have degenerative changes. 

Some cartilage injuries will present as a very painful locked knee often with swelling, and must be assessed immediately by our Practitioners as muscle wasting can begin immediately. Because cartilages cannot heal themselves, a treatment regime should be implemented immediately to prevent long term knee problems especially further degeneration.

How long will it last?

Degenerative cartilage problems can ‘niggle’ along for years. Acute or sudden cartilage injuries may need to be referred for knee arthroscopy especially if your knee is unable to straighten or bend due to feeling locked. This is usually suggestive of a tear in the cartilage and it may need cartilage repair or removing the damaged portion of the cartilage. With a diligent physiotherapy program, especially if an arthroscopy is performed, you may be back on track within 3-6 weeks.


The symptoms of Cartilage Injury are:

  • An inability to fully bend or straighten the knee.
  • Pain on squatting/twisting.
  • Pain with running, twisting.
  • Swelling in the knee.
  • Muscle wasting at the front of the thigh (the quadriceps).

Suggestions for managing cartilage Injuries

  • Commencing Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation immediately. Use crutches if unable to weight bear without pain.
  • We recommend an immediate Physiotherapy assessment to assist in diagnosing your cartilage injury and determine if you need referral to a Sports Physician or Orthopaedic Surgeon.
  • If you are injured at work or in sport, our practitioners have approved knee conditioning programs for your cartilage injury that will get you back on track sooner.
  • Rebuilding your muscles is imperative for a full return to activity or sport. Do not assume that your muscles automatically return after knee surgery. See our exercise program options.
  • Walking with a limp is not advised and you must consult a professional immediately.

Professional treatment options

Contact us now for immediate advice regarding Cartilage injury.