Exams and Tests
During an examination for a possible
meniscus tear, your doctor will ask you about
past injuries and what you were doing when your knee started to hurt. He or
she will do an
exam of both knees to evaluate tenderness,
range of motion, and knee stability. An X-ray is usually done to evaluate the
knee bones if there is swelling, if there is pain at a certain place (point tenderness), or if you cannot put weight on your leg.
Your knee may be too painful or swollen for a full
exam. In this case, your doctor may withdraw fluid from your joint and inject a
numbing medicine (local anesthetic) into the joint. This
might relieve your pain enough that you can have an exam. Or the exam may be
postponed for a week while you care for your knee at home with rest, ice,
compression, and elevation.
doctor or an emergency room doctor may refer you to an
orthopedist for a more complete examination. An
orthopedist may order a
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) if the diagnosis is
uncertain. An MRI typically gives a good picture of the location and extent of
meniscus tear and also provides images of the
An orthopedist may recommend
arthroscopy, a procedure used to examine and repair
the inside of the knee joint by inserting a thin tube (arthroscope) containing
a camera with light through a small incision near the knee joint. With
arthroscopy, the orthopedist can directly view and possibly treat the meniscus
and other parts of the knee.
- Meniscus Tear: Should I Have a Diagnostic Test (MRI or Arthroscopy)?