Causes of meniscal tear

The meniscus can be torn by twisting the knee in a planted foot, repeated squatting, heavy lifting. This can happen in sports e.g. soccer, volleyball, tennis, etc. It can also occur during activities of daily living and at work.

Symptoms of meniscal tear

If you tore your meniscus, you will have:

  • painful limp
  • unable to squat
  • knee pain alongside of the knee joint
  • swelling
  • clicking
  • locking
  • sense of giving way
Diagnosed meniscal tear

The doctor will be diagnosed meniscal tear from history taking, physical examination, imaging and diagnostic arthroscopy include:

  • X-ray
    X-ray will not show up the tear in meniscus. However, it can be used to exclude other differential diagnosis.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):
    MRI makes use of the radiofrequencies in magnetic field to produce visualized images of body structures. It can detect wear and tear in meniscus.
  • Diagnostic arthroscopy:
    The doctor may offer your knee arthroscopy as an adjunct to diagnose and treat meniscal tear. This is a minimally invasive surgery and done via 1-2cm skin incision around the knee.
Treatments of meniscal tear

Treatments divided into conservative and surgical.


Conservative treatment:

It aims to control pain and swelling as well as to regain knee function.

  • Rest: complete bed rest for 2-3 days, try to mobilise once swelling and pain permitted
  • Ice pack: ice water pack for around 15min every 2-3hrs may help reduce symptoms
  • Compression: compression across injured knee can be achieved by using crepe, soft knee brace or compression stockinet.
  • Elevation: elevate the leg at rest helps to control swelling.
  • Physiotherapy: physiotherapist will offer treatment modalities to control pain and swelling, initiate early mobilization and muscle strengthening and finally agility training to regain function.
  • Medications: the doctor will prescribe analgesics to ease your pain and helps the swelling.

Surgical treatment:

Arthroscopic assisted meniscal repair and/ or meniscectomy will be an options for you with torn meniscus. Early surgery is recommended if knee locking occur.


Rehabilitation treatment:

The doctor will collaborate with physiotherapist to tailor an optimal rehabilitation program for you. The doctor may also prescribe knee brace temporarily to relieve your symptoms and to facilitate early return of knee functions.

Nowadays numerous sports and work injury prevention programs are available. Learn one or two of these will help prevent knee injury and risks of tearing the meniscus.

Last Updated: Aug 2017
Please note that all medical health articles featured on our website have been reviewed by Quality Healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for personal consultation with a qualified health professional on the reader’s medical condition.