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Meniscus Tear

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is a meniscus tear?

A meniscus tear is a tear in the cartilage of your knee. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage (strong tissue) between your thighbone and shinbone. The meniscus helps to cushion your knee joint and keep it stable.

What causes a meniscus tear?

A meniscus tear can occur if you twist your knee. A meniscus tear can happen during sports that involve squatting and twisting the knee, such as football or basketball. Weak and thinned meniscus cartilage in older people can increase the risk for a meniscus tear.

What are the signs and symptoms of a meniscus tear?

How is a meniscus tear diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your knee. Your provider may bend your knee and then straighten and rotate it. Your provider may also order x-rays and an MRI of your knee. An MRI takes pictures of your knee to show the meniscus tear. You may be given contrast liquid to help the tear show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

How is a meniscus tear treated?

Treatment depends on the type of tear you have. Some types of meniscus tears can heal on their own. You may need any of the following:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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