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Personal stories about diagnostic tests for a meniscus tear

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

Ahmed, age 42: I felt some strain on my knee while I was playing handball 2 weeks ago, and since then I've had swelling and pain on one side of my knee. My doctor thinks I probably have a tear in my meniscus and maybe some other knee damage. I've been using ice and resting my knee a lot, but I've still got quite a bit of pain. My doctor is now recommending that I have an MRI to see what's going on in there. She says that an MRI will give us a good idea of what is injured and will help us make the decision about treatment. I'm going to go ahead and get the MRI.

Theo, age 50: I started noticing pain in my knee about 2 months ago, although I can't say what exactly I did to injure it. I can't seem to squat or kneel without increasing the pain. My orthopedist thinks it might be an age-related degeneration of the meniscus and is recommending arthroscopy so that he can look directly at the inside of my knee. If he finds a tear, he'll probably be able to fix it right then. I'm not looking forward to surgery, but arthroscopy sounds like the best way to get my knee back in operation.

Leticia, age 33: I was cleaning the garage and did something to my knee while lifting boxes up to the top shelves. I asked my doctor about having an MRI to find out what happened, but after she talked with me about my symptoms and the way I hurt it, she's pretty sure that it's a meniscus tear. We're going to go ahead with physical therapy and home exercises, and I'm confident that this program will improve my knee.

Peter, age 35: My knee started hurting the night after I had a strenuous game of pick-up basketball. After my doctor examined me and listened to my description of the game and my symptoms, it didn't take him long to say that he thought it was a meniscus tear. My doctor thinks it's a small tear and recommends that I start rehabilitation soon. Meanwhile, I'm resting my knee and being very careful to avoid any twisting or stress on the knee.

Author Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
Last Updated September 22, 2008

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 22, 2008
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.

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