The meniscus is a flexible crescent-shaped cartilage between the thighbone and shinbone that provides a cushion that absorbs and disperses attack or pressure as a result of walking, running or jumping. The meniscus is usually an injury due to the force of twisting or rotating the knee.
A torn meniscus or meniscus tear is characterized by knee pain, swelling and stiffness. Limitation of knee motion can be felt and there can also be a difficulty with full knee extension.
It may take 24 hours for the pain and swelling to develop after acquiring a torn meniscus. The following symptoms on your knee may also be observed:
- Pain during knee movement
- A popping sound during the occurrence of injury
- Inability to fully bend or straighten the knee
- Feeling of unstable knee
When you can no longer move your knee as usual, or your knee is painful or swelling, you should get medical care for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Athletes of certain contact sports (e.g., football, tennis or basketball) are more prone to a torn meniscus due to forceful pivoting or instantly pausing and twisting of the knee. Moreover, some activities such as squatting, kneeling or lifting heavy weights can also lead to this condition. In older people, degenerative arthritis can cause a tear without a knee injury.