Our knees work all day – helping us walk, run, jump, bend and even sit. The meniscus, a piece of thick, rubbery cartilage, helps protect the knee, acting as a shock absorber. The two menisci sit between the thigh bone and shin bone, to protect and stabilize our knee joint. A torn meniscus can cause knee pain and swelling. You may find that you can’t fully extend your knee due to meniscus pain.
A meniscus tear is a common knee injury. But athletes are at especially high risk for a torn meniscus. A meniscus tear may also occur in older adults because the cartilage thins over time.
Our orthopedic experts will first try to treat a meniscus tear using noninvasive treatments, like rest, medication and physical therapy. If those treatments do not work or work only temporarily, we’ll discuss meniscus surgery options with you so you can reduce knee pain and return to an active life.
Aurora Health Care is one of the largest regional health care providers in Wisconsin. Our orthopedic specialists treat many people for meniscus tears every year, giving us the experience needed to care for people of all ages and activity levels – from competitive athletes to older adults with degenerative joint conditions.
When you come to us, you will find:
If you are playing a sport and feel a sudden popping sensation in your knee, you may have torn your meniscus. You may still be able to walk on your knee, but over the next few days, the symptoms will worsen.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear also include:
Getting prompt diagnosis and treatment is important because a piece of meniscus can come loose and travel into the joint. The piece can then cause your knee to lock.
Causes of a torn meniscus include:
To diagnose a meniscus tear, we will first ask you about your symptoms. We may also order other diagnostic tests including:
At Aurora, you’ll get a prompt, precise diagnosis from a team of experts, so you can get the treatment you need. Learn more about our orthopedic diagnosis process.
Your treatment plan will depend on where the tear is, what caused it and how severe it is.
Noninvasive meniscus tear treatment methods include:
If the meniscus pain persists, or the tear is severe, we may recommend more extensive treatment, like surgery. Procedures include: