What Does a Torn Meniscus (Meniscus Tear) Feel Like?

What Does a Torn Meniscus (Meniscus Tear) Feel Like?

Is My Meniscus Torn?

A torn meniscus (meniscus tear) will often produce pain, swelling and mechanical symptoms like catching or locking in the knee joint.  

An injury to the meniscus can be diagnosed based upon the history that the patient provides and a physical examination of the knee.

Further diagnostic studies (like an MRI) may be required so we can get a three-dimensional image of the interior of the knee joint. In some cases, we may also recommend arthroscopic inspection of the knee joint, a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Meniscus tears symptoms are categorized in three levels of severity: minor, moderate, and severe:

Meniscus Tear Symptoms

Minor symptoms of a meniscus tear include:

  • Discomfort
  • Slight pain
  • Swelling

These symptoms usually subside after 2-3 weeks.

Moderate symptoms of a meniscus tear include:

  • Significant swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Pain when moving laterally, twisting or squatting.

Symptoms may subside after 2-3 weeks, but may reoccur again when the knee is put under extra stress.

Severe symptoms are created when the torn meniscus folds into the joint space. Because of this, the knee will “lock up” or “catch”, feel wobbly or give out, and a significant amount of range of motion will be lost. 

Video - Meniscus tears

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