Meniscus Injuries

A torn meniscus is among the most popular knee injuries. A torn meniscus can occur as a result of any activity that causes a strong twisting or rotation of your knee, especially when you put your full weight on it. Each of your knees has two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act similar to a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone (menisci). A torn meniscus drives pain, swelling, and stiffness. You may also notice a restriction in knee motion and trouble fully extending your knee. Rest, ice, and medication can help ease the pain of a torn meniscus while also allowing the damage to heal on its own. In other instances, though, a torn meniscus calls for surgical repair.

If your meniscus has been torn, you may notice the following symptoms in your knee:
  • A popping sensation
  • Swelling or stiffness
  • Pain, particularly at the time of twisting or rotating your knee
  • Trouble in straightening your knee fully
  • Sensing as though your knee is locked in place when you try to move it
  • The feeling of your knee giving way
Contact your doctor if your knee is painful or swollen, or if you can't move your knee in the normal ways.
Any activity that causes you to violently twist or rotate your knees, such as high-pressure pivoting or quick stops and turns, might result in a torn meniscus. Even kneeling, deep squatting, or lifting something hefty can at times lead to a torn meniscus. Degenerative changes in the knee can result in a torn meniscus in older persons with little or no trauma.
A torn meniscus might occur if you engage in activities that involve vigorous twisting and pivoting of the knee. The risk is especially high for athletes — particularly those who participate in contact sports, like football, or activities that pertain to pivoting, such as tennis or basketball. Wear and tear on your knees as you get older raises the risk of a torn meniscus. So does obesity.
A torn meniscus can result in a feeling of your knee giving way, unfitness to move your knee usually, or continual knee pain. You may have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis in the injured knee.