A meniscal tear is an injury of the shock-absorbing cartilage in the knee. A ‘pop’ may be heard or felt at the time of injury. Explain to your physician if you are experiencing joint pain, locking of the joint or knee pain in the space between the bones which gets worse when gentle pressure is applied to the joint.
Your physician may perform several tests to determine whether or not you have a meniscal tear. Tests where your doctor places pressure on the joint, or rotates your leg will look for pain or ‘clicking’ in certain areas to indicate the presence of a meniscal tear. Additionally, a test for excess joint fluid will reveal if there is a tear. Other diagnostic tests such as a knee MRI or joint X-ray will show the presence of meniscal tears.
The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and protect the joint from further injury while it heals. It is very important that you do not put your full weight on the knee. Therefore, you may need to use crutches or wear a knee immobilizer to prevent further injury to the joint. Icing the knee and anti-inflammatory drugs will reduce swelling and pain.
However, if the injury is severe, knee arthroscopy may be necessary.