The meniscus has the important job of cushioning and stabilizing the knee joint and anytime a meniscus injury occurs symptoms are usually severe enough to warrant a trip to an Orthopedic Surgeon. If you’ve injured your knee and are experiencing any, or any combination, of the below-mentioned symptoms, you might have a meniscus injury that needs to be evaluated and treated.


meniscus injury

Illustration 1- An example of a common meniscus injury


Symptom #1: Locking and/or popping 

A torn meniscus disturbs the integrity of the knee joint. As the knee flexes and extends, the bones may hit or catch the piece of torn meniscus, resulting in an aggravating, irritating, and sometimes painful locking and/or popping sensation. Patients who experience this symptom are very aware of it, as it limits their ability to perform physical activities.

Symptom #2: Decreased Range of Motion 

The femur and tibia rest perfectly on top of one another to form the knee joint. When healthy, the joint moves smoothly while flexing and extending the knee. Should a significant meniscus injury occur, the integrity and alignment of the joint will be affected and range of motion will decrease. With larger displaced meniscus tears the ability to fully straighten the leg will be affected.  This symptom is especially problematic for athletes.

Symptom #3: Stiffness

Patients who sustain meniscus injuries may experience a great deal of stiffness. It’s not uncommon to see patients walk with their leg completely straight to avoid the locking and/or popping discussed above.

Symptom #4 Swelling

As with all soft tissue injuries, swelling can occur immediately following a meniscus injury. After a few days, swelling should go down. However, if the injury isn’t treated properly, swelling may continue and limit knee mobility.

Symptom #5 Pain 

Pain is usually associated with a meniscus injury. The type and severity depend on the severity of the injury and pain tolerance of the patient. In most cases, pain ceases after rest and activity modification.

Treating a Meniscus Injury

Ideally, a meniscus injury can be treated using conservative, non-surgical options, such as:

  • Rest and activity modification
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications
  • Bracing

Sometimes, a meniscus injury is severe enough to require surgery. The goal of surgery is to repair or remove the piece of torn meniscus to restore the joint and range of motion.

Seeking Treatment for a Meniscus Injury

If you’ve injured your knee and are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, an appointment with an Orthopedic Surgeon should be made. Please contact one of our 5 Long Island offices to schedule a consultation with one of our experts.  Once your knee has been examined, an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan can be made. 

The physicians at Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine focus on both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of bone and joint injuries.  Renowned experts Dr. Charles Ruotolo, Dr. Richard McCormack, Dr. Brett Spain and Dr. Paul Pipitone lead our Knee Team.   Fortunately, many patients can be treated non-surgically with a combination of conservative modalities coordinated by the Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Team. If surgery is necessary, the practice uses a multidisciplinary approach to create a treatment plan that focuses on the patient’s lifestyle and activities and helps them get back to those activities quickly and effectively.  When in the hands of one of our expert Orthopedic Surgeons, a full recovery is possible!