Meniscus Tear Symptoms

Recognizing Meniscus Tear Symptoms

Meniscus tear symptoms are experienced when one of the two menisci on the knee are torn. The two menisci are located in the knee joint and rest between the thigh bone and the lower leg bone (tibia). The meniscus in the outside of the knee is called the lateral meniscus, while the one on the inside of the knee is called the medial meniscus. The menisci are made up of very tough cartilage, and serve to help distribute one's body weight evenly across the knee joint. If one of the menisci were to be irreparably damaged, the eventual result would likely be the onset of arthritis in the knee joint since body weight distribution across the knee would tend to be uneven much of the time.

What Meniscus Means - In physics, the meniscus refers to the curve in the surface of a liquid resulting from the effects of surface tension at the boundary between the liquid and the wall of a container. This meniscus can take on either a concave or convex shape, a shape similar to a crescent moon. The two menisci in the knee are given this name because of their crescent-like shape. It is this crescent shape that helps keep the rounded upper leg bone, the femur bone, from sliding off of the more flattened end surface of the lower leg bone, the tibia.

A meniscus tear is a cartilage tear and the terms are often used interchangeably. However, there is another cartilage in the knee, so the term meniscus tear is the appropriate term when the meniscus itself is involved. Most instances of a torn meniscus are from trauma, and are encountered in athletic events, sometimes associated with ligament damage, and it is the meniscus on the outside of the knee which is most frequently injured.

Meniscus tear symptoms are usually experienced as knee pain, accompanied by a swelling in the knee in more severe cases. If the tear is bad enough, motion in the knee joint may be restricted. Usually when an injury to the knee occurs, one of the first things to be checked is the condition of the meniscus, since, as mentioned before, a damaged meniscus which requires treatment should not go without.

Normally No Initial Pain - Not all meniscus tears require treatment but the most severe one usually do and often require surgery. Pain which may be felt in the event of a meniscus tear is not felt in the cartilage itself as the meniscus does not have any nerve endings. When pain is one of the meniscus tear symptoms, it is pain associated with pressure put on surrounding tissues due to swelling, as well as pain due to any damage that may have occurred elsewhere in the knee area. Very often there will not be any pain experienced at all when the injury first occurs, especially if it is not a severe tear.

Swelling usually occurs gradually, over a period of several days, and the meniscus tear symptoms may not surface for several days, and then will be felt mostly when squatting, rising from a seated position, or putting pressure on the knee when lifting. Twisting will also usually be a cause of pain.

When the lateral meniscus is involved any pain experienced will usually be felt on the outside of the leg, while pain on the inside of the leg or knee would indicate it is the medial meniscus which has suffered a tear.

Any pain, soreness, or stiffness of the knee should be looked into if it persists, and certainly should be looked into if it is severe. The knee is a part of the body which you want to keep as healthy as possible, and a torn meniscus that requires treatment and is not adequately treated can be a cause of life-long pain or discomfort.