Meniscus Injury


Menisci are two C-shaped pieces of cartilage in the knee that act as shock absorbers and cushioning between the shinbone and thighbone. A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries, usually caused by forcefully twisting the knee. Most cases will heal at home with rest, ice, and pain medication; however, a severely torn meniscus requires surgery.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

When a meniscus tears, it may pop and then become swollen, stiff, and painful. The knee may also feel as if it is locked in place, making it difficult to straighten or squat down. A torn meniscus is usually not serious, but sometimes it can cause knee instability, long-term pain, or limited knee movement. It also increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Doctors diagnose a meniscus injury by performing a physical examination and manipulating or pressing on the knee to pinpoint pain. Although X-rays cannot show cartilage, they may be used to rule out other causes of knee pain. To determine the extent of the damage, a doctor may order an ultrasound or MRI or use a small tube with a light and camera (arthroscope) to examine the inside of the knee.


A torn meniscus is caused by forceful twisting or rotating of the knee. This can happen when walking, playing sports, or turning quickly. Kneeling, squatting, and lifting can also cause a meniscus injury. Degenerative wear and tear on the knee can lead to a torn meniscus in older adults. Continue reading for Prevention and Treatment Information . . .

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