Knee Meniscal Tear


The meniscus of the knee is a rubbery, C-shaped disc with the function of providing cushion by distributing weight evenly throughout the knee. There are two menisci within the knee joint. One is located at the outer edge of the knee (lateral meniscus), while the other is located at the inner edge of the knee (medial meniscus).


Meniscus tears generally occur as result of sudden twisting or turning a bent knee with the foot planted.  This can occur when lifting heavy objects or during sports activities.


Symptoms indicating a minor tear include slight pain and swelling lasting 2-3 weeks.

Symptoms indicating a moderate tear include:

  • Localized pain at the side or center of the knee.
  • Swelling worsening over 2-3 days.
  • Knee stiffness and difficulty bending.
  • Sharp pain when twisting the knee or squatting.
  • Symptoms diminished after 1-2 weeks.

Symptoms indicating a severe tear include:

  • Catching. Locking, or popping of the knee.
  • Inability or difficulty to straighten the knee.
  • Knee may feel “wobbly” or give away easily.
  • Swelling and stiffness immediately following injury or within several days.


Treatment for a meniscus tear may include rest, ice, compression, and elevation, along with physical therapy. More severe tears of the meniscus may require surgery to remove all of or part of the affected meniscus.

OrthoNeuro Physicians that Treat this Condition: