Signs That It’s Time to Seek Treatment for a Meniscal Tear

December 5th, 2013

 The meniscus is a crescent-shaped disk of fibrocartilage within the knee joint that absorbs the shock of the lower bone of the leg moving against the upper bone of the leg. It is this piece of tissue that distributes the load of the movement across the entirety of the knee in order to facilitate even, well-supported motion. Unfortunately, as the most-used joint in the human body, the knee is prone to serious injury. One of the most common is a tear to the meniscus.

A meniscal tear is a common injury among athletes who place tremendous pressure on their knees. Some of the symptoms of a meniscal tear include:
  • Pain on inner or outer side of the knee
  • Swelling of the area
  • Increased pain with squatting, twisting or straightening
  • Stiffness to the joint
  • The knee joint feeling unstable or giving way suddenly with attempted use
Injury to the meniscus can be quite minor or very severe, and the type of treatment that should be used will vary depending on the severity, as well as the age, health, and activity level of the person suffering the injury. It is important to see a doctor if:
  • The pain is severe and no weight can be applied to it
  • The knee is tender to the touch
  • The knee has a crooked, bumpy or otherwise “wrong” appearance
  • The joint cannot be moved without significant pain
  • The joint buckles with attempted use
  • There is redness or streaking at the site of the injury
  • There is numbness around the injury
  • There is uncertainty as to the severity of the injury or how it should be treated
The treatment plan for a meniscal tear can range from several days of rest and icing to wearing a knee brace to the surgical repair or removal of the injured meniscus.
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