Meniscus tears typically result from activities that require twisting or rotating the knee, such as sports, kneeling, or lifting heavy objects. Age can cause the meniscus to become brittle and thin, which increases the likelihood of tearing.
Symptoms of a torn meniscus include pain in the knee, a pronounced popping sensation, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty straightening the knee and walking. In minor tears, symptoms may not be noticeable within the first 24 hours of injury.
Physicians will conduct a physical exam to diagnose a torn meniscus. You may be asked to move the knee and leg in a variety of positions, walk, and kneel. Although x-rays and other imaging tests cannot identify a torn meniscus, they may be used to identify other conditions in the knee.
Treatment for a meniscus tear typically includes rest, ice, and over the counter pain medications. Physical therapy may also be recommended to strengthen and stabilize the muscles in the leg. Surgery may be required in severe cases that do not respond to conservative treatment.