Overview on a meniscus tear

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A meniscus tear occurs if the knee meniscus is torn traumatically by twisting motion on a slightly bent knee. The traumatic forms are usually related to sports. The meniscus can end up torn anteriorly, posteriorly or radially or even have a buckle-like handle appearance.

Among the elderly, the tear might be brought about by the natural aging process of the meniscus or the presence of an arthritic femoral bone surface that tears into the softer meniscus. In such cases, surgery is required to fix the meniscus and damaged joint surface.


Having a history of a sore twist on a slightly bent knee can indicate the possibility of a meniscus tear.

Having a history of a sore twist on a slightly bent knee can indicate the possibility of a meniscus tear. The individual might also experience popping, clicking or locking of the knee. Take note that these symptoms are generally accompanied by pain throughout the knee joint along with swelling.

Upon assessment, there is tenderness along the knee joint. There is also difficulty or pain when squatting. In addition, the doctor will perform the McMurray’s test along with other tests to confirm a meniscus tear.

Management of a meniscus tear

A minor case of meniscus tear generally responds well to physiotherapy. One of the main roles of the meniscus is to absorb shock. If the leg muscles are strengthened, the bone stresses reduce as the muscle strength improves while the knee joint becomes dynamically stable.

The commonly used treatment aims on:

  • Lowering the pain and inflammation
  • Normalizing the range of motion of the joint
  • Strengthening of the knee and lower limb
  • Reduce the risk for re-injury in the future

A meniscus tear typically takes 6-8 weeks to completely heal. In some cases, surgery might be required.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on a meniscus tear is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to manage a meniscus tear, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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