A torn meniscus can come in a variety of shapes and sizes and depending on the size of the tear, as well as the severity of the injury, the symptoms of a torn meniscus can change. The most common symptoms are usually swelling of the knee, inability to straighten the knee, and a clicking sound or feel in the knee.
Symptoms Torn Meniscus: Small or Minor Tear
Small meniscus tears are common and can happen from just a slight turn of the knee during athletics or activity. For small tears, the pain is normally minimal and can usually be solved with at home remedies like icing and elevation. There may be some pain and swelling with a small torn meniscus and if the pain and swelling don’t disappear after a couple of weeks, you should visit a doctor.
- Minimal pain
- Slight swelling after several days
- Walking with minimal pain
- Increased pain with lifting knee, rising from sitting, or squatting
- Pain lasts for between 2-3 weeks
Symptoms Torn Meniscus: Moderate Tear
Moderate meniscus tears are common and happen often when you twist your knee or are hit in the knee. Normally a moderate meniscus tear will cause swelling and pain and it is always important to see a doctor to find out what the best treatment plan is. Depending on the size and location of the tear they may heal on their own or may need more intensive treatment.
- Pain at the side of the center of the knee
- Pain when walking, but able to walk
- Gradually increasing swelling over 2-3 days
- Limited pain or stiffness when bending
- Sharp pains when twisting or squatting
- Pain diminishes after 2-3 weeks but returns with twisting or squatting
- Can recur for years if untreated
Symptoms Torn Meniscus: Large or Severe Tear
Serious meniscus tears often cause intense pain and swelling. Many times this is accompanied by locking of the knee joint and sometimes you may feel clicking or it may feel as if your knee is giving out due to the torn meniscus. They require the attention of a doctor and in many cases require surgery.
- Immediate pain
- Immediate swelling
- Knee pops, catches, clicks, or locks
- Tightness in knee joint, difficult straightening or inability to straighten
- Knee feels unstable
- Difficult and painful to walk
- Requires medical attention to heal