What is a Torn Mensicus?

A torn meniscus is a ruptured cushion of cartilage in the knee. An injury frequently suffered during athletic activities (but which can also occur during daily life), it prevents the knee from bearing weight, severely limiting the patient's ability to function.


Torn Meniscus Symptoms

What does a torn mensicus feel like?

Common symptoms of a torn meniscus include:

  • pain in the knee, especially when walking
  • a general tenderness when pressure is applied
  • a limited range of motion
  • swelling

More severe tears may also result in recurrent locking of the joint or a "clicking" or "popping" sensation. Symptoms can also vary based on the type and pattern of tear.

Types of Meniscus Tears: Medial and Lateral

A meniscus tear can be medial or lateral, depending on which of the two menisci is torn. Medial tears occur on the inside part of the knee, while lateral tears occur on the outside.

The tear can be further classified according to its location in the meniscus and the pattern of tearing.

The location can fall into any of the following "zones" of the meniscus:

  • Red zone (outer third where blood flows)
  • Red-white zone (middle third) White zone (inner third, no blood flow)
  • White zone (inner third, no blood flow)

The pattern of the tear can be classified as follows:

  • Vertical/longitudinal 
  • Bucket handle (a vertical tear that is displaced)
  • Oblique/flap/parrot beak
  • Radial
  • Horizontal
  • Complex (multiple patterns of tears)

Medial Meniscus Tears

Medial meniscus tears affect the inner meniscus.

Lateral Meniscus Tears

A lateral meniscus tear affects the outer meniscus. It is less common than the medial meniscus tear (but more common in acute ACL tears). Symptoms for each tear are identical.

Meniscus Tear Tests

What To Do For a Torn Meniscus

Meniscus tears are usually diagnosed with a McMurray test, a short examination in which your doctor will bend your knee, straighten it, and then rotate it. If you experience pain or a clicking sensation, your doctor will take a knee joint X-ray and an MRI to confirm the diagnosis. If you think you might be suffering from a torn meniscus, our orthopedic specialists can help make a proper diagnosis. Make an appointment here, or visit our "Treatment & Surgery" page to learn more.

If you are in pain from a meniscal tear, there are many treatment options available that can get you back on track in no time. Find out more here or book an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists here.

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