Did I Tear My Knee Meniscus Cartilage?

Your knee has been painful for a few weeks and is not getting better. You may even have a little bit of swelling and puffiness in and around the knee.

It hurts when you go up and down the stairs and cannot squat without pain in the knee. You cannot work out or run because of the pain.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, there is a good chance you have torn the meniscus in your knee.

The meniscus is a soft cartilage between the knee bones that provides a very important cushioning. Tearing the meniscus cartilage can cause locking, catching and of course knee pain and swelling.

A torn meniscus is easy for an orthopedic surgeon to diagnose based on some specific physical exams. A very sensitive test done by an orthopedic surgeon is joint line tenderness.

The meniscus sits in this exact location and point tenderness at this site helps identify if there is a tear. Other tests that are sensitive are McMurray’s test or flexion-pinch.

These are maneuvers that look to trap the torn meniscus between the knee bones and reproduce the pain and catching.

Sports medicine specialists like me do these tests hundreds of times each week and can help diagnose a torn meniscus in minutes.

It is very important to differentiate other causes of knee swelling and pain before definitively diagnosing a meniscus tear. Arthritis can cause knee pain and swelling in the knee as well.

The best way to see if there is arthritis is with x-rays.

This is the best test to check for arthritis, but the right x-rays must be done and reviewed by an expert which is why I like to see all my patients’ x-rays myself.

However, x-rays will not show a meniscus tear, MRI is the most accurate test for a meniscus tear.

So if your knee is hurting, swelling or you’re not able to do the sports activities you enjoy, you may have a torn meniscus.

See an expert orthopedic surgeon at Westchester Sport and Spine today and get the right diagnosis so you can get you back to doing what you love to do.

Dr. Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. He is the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Westchester Health Associates and has subspecialty training in knee and shoulder surgery, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Weinstein is a Board Examiner for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, determining certification for other orthopedic surgeons.