Meniscus Tear Symptoms

Meniscus tear symptoms

Meniscus tear symptoms can range from a swollen knee, tenderness in the joint, and sensitivity to cold weather.  The meniscus is the main shock absorber for the knee and is also used for weight distribution.  Meniscus tear symptoms can also lead to arthritis in the future if not properly addressed.  If you have any of the following symptoms please go see a doctor for advice on how to move forward.

Meniscus Tear Symptoms

Minor meniscus tear symptoms

A minor tear usually causes a mild amount of discomfort, pain, and swelling.  This type of tear usually goes away in 2-4 weeks depending on age, health, rehab, and healing genetics.

  • Mild pain
  • Mild swelling
  • Slight tenderness
  • Loss of stability
  • Symptoms should be gone within 2-4 weeks

Moderate meniscus tear symptoms

This level of tear can cause pain on the lateral side or center of the knee.  This tear will produce moderate to major swelling and can increase stiffness in the knee joint.  People suffering from moderate meniscus tear symptoms such as knee pain, increased swelling for a period of a week or more, loss of flexibility or range of motion should see a knee doctor right away.  It is recommended to address this type of tear to make sure surgery is not needed.

  • Moderate pain
  • Pain increased during weight bearing activities
  • Moderate to severe swelling
  • Swelling lasting more then 10 days should be addressed by a doctor
  • Knee popping or buckling after swelling has decreased
  • Possible recurring knee pain for 6 months to a year if not treated

Meniscal Tear

Severe meniscus tear symptoms

This type of tear is commonly seen in athletes and extreme sport enthusiasts.  A severe tear is usually caused by a tremendous amount of shock to the knee joint and is usually accompanied by a torn ligament.  Knee surgery is usually recommended at this level of trauma.  Not addressing the symptoms can lead to future degeneration of the joint and may cause arthritis.  Severe knee meniscus tear symptoms can include torn menisci pieces being mobilized and lodged into the joint space.  This can cause major issues and you should see your knee doctor if you have the following symptoms

  • Grape fruit knee – severe swelling
  • Severe pain
  • Loss of motion
  • Inability to walk without moderate to severe pain
  • Knee buckling, popping, or clicking

If you feel you have any of these knee meniscus tear symptoms please consult a knee doctor right away.  An MRI may need to bee taken to see the severity of the tear.  Buying a proper knee brace is very important as well.  Ice and some type of anti inflammatory is usually recommended to reduce the swelling.

Real Life Situation – Cindy Foster from Seattle, WaA few years ago I had a snowboarding accident and twisted my knee.  My knee was extremely swollen for about two weeks and it was very hard to walk or stand for long periods of time.  At the time I didn’t have good medical insurance and was unable to pay for surgery at that time.  After searching the internet for help I found a local PT who was willing to examine me for $40.  The physical therapist was able to run tests to gauge the severity of my knee injury.  He prescribed ibuprofen, ice, and a few exercises to help get my knee functioning again.  He advised me to pay for a better health care plan so I could get an MRI and verify the severity of the tear.  After saving for a few months I was able to buy a better health plan and in six months I had scheduled my MRI appointment.  After evaluating the MRI my doctor verified that I had a moderate to severe menisci tear with a minor tear in my ACL.  Based on my MRI the doctor believed I could possibly heal and strengthen my knee back to health without surgery.  The doctor prescribed me 8 weeks of physical therapy and in no time my knee was feeling strong again and the pain had ceased.  Thanks to the help of two wonderful doctors I was able to address my meniscus tear symptoms and start exercising again.  Thirteen months post injury I was back on my snowboard and “knock on wood” still no knee pain or instability.

All the best,

Cindy Foster

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