What is a Meniscus Tear?

An Overview of a Meniscus Tear?

The meniscus is a type of cartilage that is found inside of the knee. The meniscus is responsible for cushioning and stabilizing the joint. If the knee is twisted the wrong way, then a torn meniscus can result. Anyone can develop a torn meniscus. However, athletes are at a greater risk for developing one.

Older people are also more likely to develop a torn meniscus. The cartilage naturally weakens as you get older.

Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus

You will likely hear a popping noise if you have torn your meniscus. The knee joint will become swollen and stiff. You may also notice that you are not able to move the knee through its full range of motion. Additionally, a torn meniscus can be extremely painful.

Diagnosing a Torn Meniscus

You will need to see a doctor in order to get your torn meniscus diagnosed and treated. The doctor may perform a test called the Murray test. There is where the doctor bends the knee and then straightens it and rotates it. If there is a tear, then the doctor will hear a clicking sound.

The doctor may also order an x-ray. The x-ray may not reveal a meniscus tear. However, it may reveal other signs of damage. Additionally, the doctor may order a MRI. The MRI will give the doctor a picture of the soft tissue around the knee.


The treatment for a meniscus tear depends on the severity of the tear. Mild meniscus tears can usually be treated with the R.I.C.E. method. R stands for rest. You will need to rest in order for the injury to heal. I stands for ice. Applying ice to the area for 20 minutes can decrease the swelling.

C stands for compression. Applying a compression bandage can promote healing and reduce swelling. It can also prevent additional blood loss. E stands for elevation. When you elevate the leg above the heart level, you reduce swelling. Additionally, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce swelling and pain.

Some people will need to have surgery. The doctor can stitch the torn pieces of tissue back together. You will have to rehabilitation exercises after you have healed from surgery. You can do this at home. However, your doctor may recommend that you go to physical therapy. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for you to heal from surgery.

Plano Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Spine Center is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. Our practice is led by a group of 11 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. With locations in Plano and Frisco, the physicians at Plano Orthopedic have been recognized as the Best Doctors in Dallas and Collin County D Magazine. They have also been honored as Super Doctors in Texas Monthly, including several who are Texas Hall of Fame SuperDoctors by their peers since 2003.  Contact us today!