It’s common to experience these signs and symptoms following a meniscal tear:
Athletes should always contact their doctor as early as possible following an injury or the onset of pain or other symptoms. Seeking medical treatment right away could impact whether you’re able to return to the game in the future and when that might occur.
Meniscal tears are most often the result of specific movements in sports, such as quick, sudden stopping, pivoting, or turning.
In some cases, less aggressive activities like kneeling down, lifting a heavy object, or squatting can result in a torn meniscus. In older adults, a torn meniscus can occur without an actual injury, often as a result of arthritic changes in the knee.
If you play sports that require quick stopping and pivoting like football, tennis, or basketball, you’re at risk for a meniscal tear. Older people are also at higher risk just because they're at higher risk of changes in their knees that can contribute to tears.
Untreated meniscal tears produce chronic pain, knee instability, and limited range of motion. Without treatment, a meniscal tear will undoubtedly impact your ability to play sports and work.
Whenever possible, your provider uses noninvasive treatment options as the first line of treatment.
Minor or partial tears can sometimes be managed conservatively with ice, rest, elevation, compression, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. If these interventions are unsuccessful, physical therapy is the next conservative treatment.
When conservative methods don’t alleviate pain and other symptoms, surgery may be required. Surgery can usually be administered, arthroscopically, through tiny incisions to limit risk and expedite the healing process.