A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting the pressure of your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.
Each of your knees has two menisci — C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone. A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. Your knee might feel unstable, as if it’s going to collapse.
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 may contribute to a torn meniscus.
If you’ve torn your meniscus, you may experience 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 or experiencing what feels like a block to movement of your knee, as if your knee were locked in place
Degenerative type meniscal tears are essentially synonymous with osteoarthritis of the knee and can be treated as such so long as there is no true knee “locking” or “catching”. Procedural treatments include cortisone injections into the joint that can help decrease pain and inflammation. Viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid derivatives are another injection option. Regenerative type injections such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections and stem cell injections are also being used experimentally to provide a healthier environment to promote healing in the degenerated joint.