A common injury in which forceful twisting causes certain tissue in the knee to tear. A meniscus tear occurs in the rubbery knee cartilage that cushions the shinbone from the thighbone. The meniscus can tear with forceful twisting or rotation of the knee. Pain, swelling, stiffness and difficulty extending the knee are symptoms. Treatment includes rest, ice, pain relievers and physiotherapy. Less commonly, surgery may be required.
If you’ve torn your meniscus, you might have the following signs and symptoms in your knee:
A popping sensation
Swelling or stiffness
Pain, especially when twisting or rotating your knee
Difficulty straightening your knee fully
Feeling as though your knee is locked in place when you try to move it
Feeling of your knee giving way
A torn meniscus can result from any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, such as aggressive pivoting or sudden stops and turns. Even kneeling, deep squatting or lifting something heavy can sometimes lead to a torn meniscus.
In older adults, degenerative changes of the knee can contribute to a torn meniscus with little or no trauma.