Meniscal Tear Types

By Justin Delicato, PTA

Meniscus injuries medical vector illustration isolated on white background

What is the Meniscus?

The meniscus is cartilage in your knee that acts as a cushion for the knee joint as well as stabilizes the joint. The cartilage forms a barrier between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone) to protect these two bones from rubbing against one another.

How does a meniscal 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. 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.

Meniscal Tear Types?

The four most common type of meniscus tears are listed below

  1. Longitudinal Tear- This type of tear is also known as a vertical tear and is seen extending in a vertical orientation parallel to the meniscus
  2. Bucket Handle Tear- One of the most serious types of tears,  this type of tear occurs on the outer portion of the meniscus in which the torn portion of the meniscus pulls into the center of the knee joint causing locking of the knee
  3. Transverse Tear- Known as a radial tear as well, this tear is the exact opposite of a longitudinal tear in which this type of tear cuts across the meniscus
  4. Anterior/Posterior Horn Tear- Anterior tears are the least common type of tear. They occur along the front aspect of the meniscus whereas the posterior horn tear are more common and are located in the back of the meniscus.

Meniscal Tear Symptoms

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

  • 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. This causes blocking of the knee joint from obtaining full motion
  • Buckling or feeling of your knee is giving way or unable to support you


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.

What JOI has to offer?

JOI has a dedicated team of physicians that are dedicated to your orthopedic treatment. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above and would like to see a physician regarding this, JOI offers six different MD locations and they are located throughout the northeast Florida area.

  • JOI MD Locations

Baptist South, Baptist Beaches, Baptist Clay, Nassau, Riverside and San Marco

Furthermore, JOI also offers physical therapy in numerous areas in northeast Florida, if your referring MD feels physical therapy would assist you in relieving of these symptoms

  • JOI Physical Therapy Locations

Arlington, Riverside, San Marco, Fleming, South, Mandarin, North, Nocatee, Nassau, Point Meadows and Beaches

Call JOI-2000 if you have any questions!

Justin Delicato, PTA

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