Torn Knee Meniscus

What is a Torn Meniscus?

A torn meniscus is when one of the cushions of cartilage in the knee ruptures or tears. Torn meninscus frequently frequently occurs during athletic activities, but can also occur during more mundane daily physical activities. A torn meninscus typically prevents the knee from bearing weight, severely limiting the patient’s ability to function, and is associated with significant knee pain. Most meniscal tears occur in patients over 45 years of age.

What does a torn meniscus feel like?

The most common symptoms of a torn meniscus are:

  • Knee pain, especially on walking
  • Knee tenderness
  • Limited range of motion of the knee
  • Swelling of the knee

Severe meniscal tears may cause recurrent locking of the knee joint or a “clicking” or “popping” sensation.

Medial versus Lateral Meniscal Tears

Medial tears occur on the inside of the knee, and are the most common. Lateral tears occur on the outside. Lateral tears are less common, occur more commonly in acute ACL tears). Symptoms for each tear are similar.

Meninscal tears can be degenerative (occurring with age and wear and tear), or traumatic (occurring due to discrete trauma).

How is a Torn Meniscus Diagnosed?

Meniscus tears are usually diagnosed with a McMurray test, a brief physical examination in which your knee is bent, straightened, and then rotated. If you experience pain or a clicking sensation. Knee joint X-ray and an MRI will usually confirm the diagnosis.



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