Torn Meniscus

Torn Meniscus

The meniscus is a piece of rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber in the knee joint. Each one of your knees has two c-shaped menisci, one on the outside and one on the inside. By transferring weight smoothly between the upper and lower knee joint, the meniscus plays a key role in stabilizing the knee during movement. 

Meniscus tears are a common injury that can result in pain and mobility problems for people from all walks of life. Although it is a common sports injury, people who work in physical and manual professions can also tear their meniscus. Whether you have been diagnosed with this injury or are researching potential causes for your injured knee, it is helpful to learn about the meniscus and the different factors that can cause meniscus tears.


There are a variety of ways that meniscus tears can come about. Some of the most common causes of this condition are:

  • Sports-related Injury: Meniscal tears are very common among athletes, especially in contact sports and sports that require jumping, such as basketball. However, the meniscus can tear due to any type of trauma or sudden pivoting, from tennis to track and field.
  •  Work-related Injury: A torn meniscus can occur in any profession, but the highest risk is in highly physical work, including mail carriers, warehouse workers, construction workers, and factory workers. 
  • Repetitive Motion Injury: While meniscus tears are commonly associated with sudden trauma, they can also develop as a result of repetitive stress on the knee joint. Activities such as cycling, jogging, or professions such as plumbing that require frequent knee bending have the potential for meniscus tears, particularly as people get older. 


A meniscus tear can either be “fixed” by healing naturally or through surgical repair. Upon diagnosis, if a doctor believes the injured knee has a chance to heal on its own, they may prescribe a course of rest. Additionally, physical therapy can improve strength stability, and function in the knee joint as the meniscus heals, or after surgery. 

If the tear does not respond to conservative treatment, or if it is too severe to heal on its own, a surgical procedure can help to repair the meniscus tear and/or remove damaged tissue that is inhibiting knee function. 

Advances in surgical technology and techniques have allowed for these procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis. 


If an individual tears their meniscus, they may experience a sudden pop after an awkward movement. After the initial injury, the knee joint can become stiff and visibly swollen. Other common symptoms of meniscal tears include:

  • Pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Popping and grinding sensations
  • Feeling of the knee locking or giving away

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, getting a proper diagnosis early on is important to the treatment process. If a patient waits to treat a meniscus tear, it could worsen and require more invasive surgery.

Reach out to BEST Health system

If you are experiencing knee pain, the healthcare professionals at BEST Health System are prepared to help you on your path to recovery. Get in touch with our team today!

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