The Orthopedic Blog

What is a Meniscal Tear

Posted on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 @ 14:04 PM

What is a Meniscal Tear

People who are not familiar with an MCL tear will probably wonder what exactly it is. A Meniscal tear is a common knee injury seen especially among active athletes. The meniscus is rubbery and is shaped like a ‘C’ that cushions one’s knee. It keeps the knee steady by balancing a person’s weight across the knee. When the knee incurs a tear, it is often prevented from working the way it should.

The Cause of a Meniscal Tear

The MCL tear is usually caused by a sudden turn or twist of the knee, similar to general sport actions that include pivoting, jumping, landing, or twisting. A person who carries a heavy object may also sustain a tear. Additionally, as a person gets older, his meniscus tends to get worn and this can easily cause it to tear.

Symptoms of a Meniscal Tear

An MCL tear comes in three different types and each type has its own symptoms. A minor tearWhat is a Meniscal tear to the meniscus may cause swelling and slight pain in the injured knee. Typically, the swelling and pain will go away within 2 to 3 weeks. When a person starts to feel pain in the center of or at the side of the knee, then it is likely that he has sustained a moderate type of meniscal tear. After 3 days, the patient may feel stiff in the knee and limited in terms of how he can bend his injured knee.

Nonetheless, walking may still be a breeze. Symptoms should disappear within 2 weeks at most, but can come back if the patient twists or turns the knee once again. If the MCL tear is not treated, the pain may come and go for several years. A severe meniscus tear can cause residue of the torn MCL that at times penetrates the joint space, which in turn, can cause the knee to lock, pop, or catch. When this happens, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend MCL surgery to enable the patient to resume his sports activities.  

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Topics: MCL tear