Meniscal Tear Symptoms

By JOI Rehab Staff

JOI Knee Joint

Meniscus Tear Causing Knee Pain

What is the Meniscus?

The meniscus is cartilage in your knee that acts as a cushion for the joint as well as stabilizes the joint. The cartilage forms a barrier between the femur and the tibia to protect these two bones from wear and tear on each other.

How does a menisci tear occur?

One of the major reasons menisci tears occur are from sporting activities. Activities that involve forcefully twisting or rotating from the knee, such as playing football and performing a pivoting or juking movement can cause for a possible tear. Common activities we perform on a daily basis such as deep squatting or lifting a heavy object can also contribute to a menisci tear. Degenerative changes, wear and tear, in older adults are also common factors of developing tears.

Types of Menisci Tears?

A bucket handle tear is a torn segment of the meniscus that pulls away forming a handle shaped segment, typically occurs in younger adults who participate in sports and requires surgery.

A radial tear is a minor or short tear that extends from the inner meniscus to the outer meniscus. May or may not require surgery depending on symptoms.

Flap tear is a short horizontal segmental tear with either superior or inferior displacement. May or may not require surgery depending on symptoms.

Degenerative Tear also known as wear and tear occurs throughout a period of time due to repetitive use of our knees.

Meniscal Tear Symptoms

Meniscal tears often do not cause symptoms or problems. However, if you do have a torn meniscus the following symptoms are what you might expect to experience.

  • Pain with running, walking or standing for long durations.
  • Intermittent swelling of the knee joint, typically patients will complain of “tightness” in knee joint
  • Popping, can occur with ascending and descending stairs or squatting.
  • Sensation of the knee locking (difficulty fully straightening or extending the knee). This symptom is contributed to a piece of torn meniscus folding on itself and blocking the knee joint from obtaining full motion.
  • Buckling or feeling of your knee is giving way or unable to support you.

Recovery

If you do have a meniscus tear, the recovery can vary depending on the type of tear and whether the tear requires surgery. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should follow up with an orthopedic knee specialist for an assessment.


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