Meniscus Tear and Cyst

What is the Meniscus?

Located in the knee between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia), the meniscus is a c-shaped pad of cartilage that functions as a shock absorber. Each knee has two menisci – the medial meniscus located on the inside of the knee; and the lateral meniscus located on the outside of the knee.

What happens when the meniscus is torn?

Meniscus tears in Singapore are an incredibly common injury, particularly among athletes in contact sports or sports that require a lot of squatting, twisting and rapid changing of directions. Nonetheless, anyone can get a meniscus tear even in recreational activities.

A meniscus tear usually happens when one twists or turns their upper leg while their foot is planted on the ground and their knee is bent. In sports, a pivoting or cutting injury is very common. A meniscus tear is usually accompanied by a popping sensation.


What is the difference between Acute vs Degenerative Tears?

It should also be noted that besides acute tears resulting from trauma, the meniscus can also tear from degenerative changes that happen over time. In such cases, an awkward twist while standing up from a chair may be sufficient to tear an ageing meniscus.

What are the symptoms of a torn meniscus?

It is common for many people to still be able to walk on their injured knee soon after their meniscus is torn. After a few days, however, the symptoms will become more apparent.

  • Localised pain in the knee, usually around the inner or outer side of the knee
  • Stiffness and swelling in the knee
  • Catching or locking of the knee
  • Sensation of the knee “giving way”
  • Limited range of motion


Anatomy - Meniscus Tear and Cyst in Singapore

How is a meniscus tear treated in Singapore?

If the knee injury is found to be a meniscus tear, treatment will be customised based on the patient’s age, symptoms, activity level; as well as the type, location and severity of the tear.

For instance, the outer one-third part of the meniscus has a rich blood supply; which means that any tears in this area have a chance of healing on its own, through conservative meniscus injury treatments (e.g. nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections), or surgical repair.

On the other hand, the inner two-thirds of the meniscus have a limited blood supply; which means that any tears in this area cannot heal. As the pieces here cannot grow back together, symptomatic tears typically do not respond to to conservative meniscus injury procedures and usually need to be surgically trimmed.

Post-surgery, the patient will work closely with a physiotherapist to facilitate proper rehabilitation. This will restore your knee’s mobility, strength and range of motion.


What is a Meniscal Cyst?

A meniscal cyst is characterised by a collection of synovial fluid (“joint fluid” – the thick liquid located between one’s joints) within or adjacent to the meniscus, usually as result of a meniscal tear.

A tear in the meniscus allows joint fluid to leak out of the joint and collect into a pouch, forming what is known as the cyst.

What are the risk factors of Meniscal Cyst?

  • Past knee injury, including meniscal injury or ligament injury
  • Participation in contact sports or activities that involve a lot of twisting of the knee (e.g. soccer, rugby)
  • Advanced age or osteoarthritis

What are the symptoms of Meniscal Cyst?

Some cases of meniscal cysts are asymptomatic. Should there be symptoms, however, they may include:

  • Localised pain in the knee
  • Locking and clicking of the knee
  • A bump or lump at the cyst site
  • Weakness of the knee

How is a Meniscal Cyst Treated?

Treatment is usually non-surgical in nature:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Drainage and aspiration
  • Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

In cases where conservative treatments do not suffice, minimally invasive surgery may be recommended. Typically, the torn meniscus is surgically debrided (removed), with the associated meniscal cyst is decompressed. After which, post-operative rehabilitation is key to proper and faster recovery.

Whether you have experienced an injury to your shoulder, knee, foot & ankle, spine or any muscle, we are ready to get you back to a pain-free life.

Contact Us

For more assistance, please call +65 8028 4572 or leave us a message


Camden Medical
1 Orchard Boulevard, #09-06
Singapore 248649

Mount Alvernia Hospital
820 Thomson Road
Medical Centre D #05-60
Singapore 574623

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