The meniscal cartilages are the two shock absorbing pads within the knee joint. Meniscal tears are normally sustained during a twisting injury. Unless there is a tear at the periphery of the cartilage, the swelling associated with a tear only slowly occurs and people with cartilage tears sometimes able to continue with the sport after the injury has occured.
Cartilage tears may cause discomfort at the joint line on the inside or the outside of the knee and sometimes can cause locking (an inability to straighten the knee). They can also be a cause of instability of there is a large flap tear that is moving in and out of the joint in certain positions.
Large, peripheral cartilage tears, if diagnosed early, can be repaired with a good success rate for healing. Late diagnosed or small central tears have to be removed if causing problems.