Skip to content

Meniscus Tear

Font Size

Symptoms

Symptoms of a meniscus tear depend on the size and location of the tear and whether other knee injuries occurred along with it. Pain can also be due to swelling and injury to surrounding tissues.

With small tears, you may have minimal pain at the time of the injury. Slight swelling often develops gradually over several days. Many times you can walk with only minimal pain, although pain increases with squatting, lifting, or rising from a seated position. These symptoms usually go away in 2 to 3 weeks although pain may recur with bending or twisting.

Recommended Related to Fitness & Exercise

Rotator Cuff Tear

It's one of the darkest fears of pitchers, tennis players, and many other athletes: a rotator cuff tear. If it is severe, a rotator cuff tear can end a player's career. So what is it, exactly? The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons and muscles that converge around the shoulder joint at the top of the humerus, the upper arm bone above the elbow. Together, they form a ''cuff'' that both holds your arm in place and allows it to move in different directions. While your shoulder is one of your most...

Read the Rotator Cuff Tear article > >

In a typical moderate tear, you feel pain at the side or in the center of the knee, depending on where the tear is. Often, you are still able to walk. Swelling usually increases gradually over 2 to 3 days and may make the knee feel stiff and limit bending. There is often sharp pain when twisting or squatting. Symptoms may diminish in 1 to 2 weeks but recur with activities that involve twisting or from overuse. The pain may come and go over a period of years if left untreated.

Larger tears usually cause more pain and immediate swelling and stiffness. Swelling can develop over 2 to 3 days. Pieces of the torn meniscus can float into the joint space. This can make the knee catch, pop, or lock. You may not be able to straighten your knee. The knee can also feel "wobbly" or unstable, or give way without warning. If other injuries occurred with the meniscus tear, especially torn ligaments, you may have increased pain, swelling, a feeling that the knee is unstable, and difficulty walking.

Older people whose menisci are worn may not be able to identify a specific event that caused a tear, or they may recall symptoms developing after a minor incident such as rising from a squatting position. Pain and minimal swelling are often the only symptoms.

Pain at the inside of the knee can mean there is a tear to the medial meniscus. Pain at the outer side of the affected knee can mean there is a tear to the lateral meniscus.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 10, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
fruit drinks
Eat these to think better.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Close up of eye
12 reasons you're distracted.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.