North Hampshire Hospital
The Hampshire Clinic
Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK

Mr John Britton FRCS
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Information for patients undergoing orthopaedic treatment



The 'torn cartilage'

A tear in the cartilage (known medically as a meniscus) frequently occurs after a twisting injury. Sometimes there may an associated tear in one or more of the knee ligaments. In young patients tears normally only occur with significant injury, but in older patients tears may result from very minor injury.

The torn part of the meniscus gets stuck in the joint and this gives rise to the typical symptoms of:

  • Pain over one side of the knee

  • Intermittent giving way of the knee

  • Swelling of the knee

  • Locking of the knee; it is possible to bend the knee, but not to fully straighten it

Because the meniscus has no blood supply it is very rare for a tear to heal itself. Persistent symptoms therefore require treatment.

Arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery is normally very successful in dealing with the symptoms of a torn meniscus. A telescope is inserted into the knee and the damaged part of the meniscus is removed. For more details click here.


J M Britton 2007

Site map