What are the Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus?

The Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus Are Variable.

The most common symptom of the torn meniscus cartilage is knee pain. The pain is usually in the joint line either on the inside or outside of the knee. Symptoms for a meniscus tear should not cause pain in the front of the knee. If the pain is by the kneecap, it is probably due arthritis under the kneecap.

Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus: Swelling of the Knee

You may notice the swelling in the front top of the knee and feel tightness when bending the knee. Swelling is more common with a larger tear or a tear that just happened as it may bleed into the knee.

Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus: Locking of the Knee

Large meniscus tears can also cause locking of the knee. You may be unable to fully bend or straighten out the knee. This is because the torn piece of cartilage is actually getting caught between the 2 bones of the knee. This can be very painful and make it difficult to walk or run or even go up and down stairs. If your knee does lock, get it checked by a knee specialist because loss of motion can result in permanent stiffness of the knee.

Symptoms of a Torn Meniscus: Clicking and Popping

This is common with many knee problems and not a specific sign of a torn meniscus. Many people having clicking of a joint and if the popping does not hurt, it is not a problem. If the popping causes pain, get it checked.

The bottom line is if your knee is hurting especially on the sides and you have swelling and difficulty with activities like stairs or running, get your checked by a knee specialist to see if you have a torn meniscus.

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.