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What Is a Meniscus Tear?

The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped cartilage, that acts as a cushion for the knee while also keeping it steady by balancing the weight throughout the knee. Each knee has two menisci —one at the outer edge of the knee and one at the inner edge. A meniscus tear can be painful and even may prevent the knee from working properly.

girl kicking soccer ball

Meniscus Tear Causes and Risk Factors

The meniscus usually tears when one has a foot planted and then twists the body while the knee is bent.

Other causes of meniscus tears can include:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Participating in sports
  • Degeneration due to aging

Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear

Symptoms of a meniscus tear depend upon the severity of the injury.

Minor Tears
  • • Moderate pain
  • • Slight swelling
  • • Relief within a few weeks
Moderate Tears
  • • Stiffness of the leg, causing pain when bending
  • • Swelling that gets worse over time
  • • Mild or sharp pain in the side and/or center of the knee
  • • Difficulty squatting or twisting the body
  • • Relief within a few weeks, but symptoms return without treatment
Severe Tears
  • • Inability to straighten the leg
  • • Feeling unstable
  • • A noticeable popping or locking of the joint
  • • Severe pain and swelling

When Surgery Is Necessary

When experiencing chronic knee pain, or have just sustained a knee related injury, you should contact Dr. Madsen for a diagnosis and treatment. Early diagnosis of a meniscus tear can help speed up recovery time and prevent loss of strength and motion, so you can get back to doing what you love.

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