Discoid Meniscus

Discoid Meniscus

Article by John Miller

What is a Discoid Meniscus?

Discoid Meniscus

Every knee has a medial and lateral meniscus which are C-shaped pieces of fibrocartilage that absorb stress and act as cushions between the bones at the knee. At birth, the meniscus is not C-shaped but discoid (round like a discus).

With growth and walking, the discoid meniscus evolves into its normal C-shape. In some children, the lateral meniscus continues to stay discoid with growth. The incidence is approximately 3-5% of the population.

discoid meniscus

What are the Symptoms of a Discoid Meniscus?

The most common presentation is a 6 to 8-year-old child with a “snapping” or a “clicking” knee when they walk. However, it is also possible for the onset to occur in the early adolescent years when a child’s sporting activities increase. Luckily, a discoid meniscus is usually pain-free, and the clicking noise is frequently noticed first.

In some instances, as the child grows older, the click increases and may cause recurrent locking, where they cannot straighten or bend their knee fully. This lock will commonly also manifest as pain in the knee.

What Tests Confirm a Discoid Meniscus?

The X-ray appearance is usually healthy in a discoid meniscus. To confirm the diagnosis, an MRI is often necessary to visualise the discoid meniscus.

What is the Treatment of Discoid Meniscus?

In most cases, if there is no significant locking or pain, treatment is non-surgical. Physiotherapist- prescribed exercises consisting of stretching and strengthening exercises for the Quadriceps and Hamstring muscles plus proprioceptive and knee control exercises are normally successful.

In cases where there is a significant disability, surgical excision may occur. In most cases, a partial removal to preserve the cushioning function may be sufficient. You will need to consult with an Orthopaedic Surgeon for a medical opinion.

Please consult your knee physiotherapist or doctor for specific advice regarding your discoid meniscus.

Common Causes - Knee Pain

Knee pain can have many origins from local injury, referred pain, biomechanical issues and systemic issues. While knee pain can appear simple to the untrained eye, a thorough assessment is often required to ascertain the origin of your symptoms. The good news is that once a definitive diagnosis is determined, most knee pain quickly resolves with the correct treatment and rehabilitation.

Knee Ligament Injuries

Knee Meniscus Injuries

Kneecap Pain

Knee Arthritis

Knee Tendon Injuries

Muscle Injuries

Knee Bursitis

Children’s Knee Conditions

Other Knee-Related Conditions

Knee Surgery

Knee FAQs

For specific information regarding your knee pain, please seek the assistance of a healthcare professional with a particular interest in knee condition, such as your knee physiotherapist.

Acute Injury Signs

Acute Injury Management.

Here are some warning signs that you have an injury. While some injuries are immediately evident, others can creep up slowly and progressively get worse. If you don't pay attention to both types of injuries, chronic problems can develop.

For detailed information on specific injuries, check out the injury by body part section.

Don't Ignore these Injury Warning Signs

Joint Pain

Joint pain, particularly in the knee, ankle, elbow, and wrist joints, should never be ignored. Because these joints are not covered by muscle, pain here is rarely of muscular origin. Joint pain that lasts more than 48 hours requires a professional diagnosis.

Tenderness

If you can elicit pain at a specific point in a bone, muscle, or joint, you may have a significant injury by pressing your finger into it. If the same spot on the other side of the body does not produce the same pain, you should probably see your health professional.  

Swelling

Nearly all sports or musculoskeletal injuries cause swelling. Swelling is usually quite obvious and can be seen, but occasionally you may feel as though something is swollen or "full" even though it looks normal. Swelling usually goes along with pain, redness and heat.

Reduced Range of Motion

If the swelling isn't obvious, you can usually find it by checking for a reduced range of motion in a joint. If there is significant swelling within a joint, you will lose range of motion. Compare one side of the body with the other to identify major differences. If there are any, you probably have an injury that needs attention.

Weakness

Compare sides for weakness by performing the same task. One way to tell is to lift the same weight with the right and left sides and look at the result. Or try to place body weight on one leg and then the other. A difference in your ability to support your weight is another suggestion of an injury that requires attention.

Immediate Injury Treatment: Step-by-Step Guidelines

  • Stop the activity immediately.
  • Wrap the injured part in a compression bandage.
  • Apply ice to the injured part (use a bag of crushed ice or a bag of frozen vegetables).
  • Elevate the injured part to reduce swelling.
  • Consult your health practitioner for a proper diagnosis of any serious injury.
  • Rehabilitate your injury under professional guidance.
  • Seek a second opinion if you are not improving.