For Knee Pain, How Do I Know If My Knee Injury Is a Torn Meniscus?
How do I know I have a torn meniscus?
The knee is the most common area of the body to become injured. Although most knee injuries are due to sports-related activities, they can also occur during the course of performing normal daily activities.
A common type of knee injury is when an individual suffers a torn meniscus. But how do you know if the discomfort that you are experiencing is due to this type of injury or something else?
What is a torn meniscus?
The knee is comprised of two sets of c-shaped pieces of cartilage that are located between the thigh bone (femur) and the shinbone (tibia). This cartilage, known as menisci, serves as a cushion between these two major bones. When an individual forcefully rotates or twists their knee, the pressure can cause these menisci to become injured or, in severe cases, the cartilage will actually tear.
What the patient will experience
A torn meniscus is usually associated with a popping or clicking sound when the meniscus is ripped. The knee will immediately become either weak or the joint will feel as if it is completely locked up.
An injured or torn meniscus can cause mild to severe pain. The severity of the injury, as well as the level of pain experienced, is determined by how far the knee was unnaturally rotated and how much weight was placed on it as this directly increases the amount of pressure placed on the area. In cases where fragments of the torn meniscus become caught between the femur and the tibia, the level of pain can be quite severe.
The patient will typically feel the most discomfort when they attempt to straighten their knee. Swelling usually occurs at the time of the injury, but there can also be a delay of up to several hours after the injury before swelling sets in.
How they are diagnosed
Your doctor will have to perform a physical examination in order to identify the injury as being a torn meniscus. They will also typically incorporate the use of an MRI to verify the diagnosis, as well as the level of severity.
While most meniscus injuries require surgery to correct, in the event that a meniscus injury is small, there is a possibility that symptoms will resolve on their own over time. However, a patient should never try to make that distinction on their own. Anyone suffering a knee injury should see their doctor immediately to determine its severity.