Symptoms of a Meniscus Injury
What does a torn meniscus feel like?
The most common symptom of a torn meniscus is pain; although knee pain can be caused by a number of different injuries or conditions. All symptoms of a meniscus tear can be aggravated by walking with a bent knee or pointing your foot. Symptoms also depend on the size and location of the tear. The most common symptoms include:
- Pain worsening with use
- Stiffness and weakness
- Degeneration of the knee joint over time
- Grinding, popping, clicking, locking
If you experience a meniscus injury, pain can either be gradual or immediate depending on how severely the damage to the meniscus is and/or how quickly it happened. Often you will feel pain and tenderness in your joint, especially when you touch your knee with slight pressure. If you have a tear, you will usually feel a sharp pain along the joint line in the area of your tear (usually the inside or outer part of the knee). Pain in the middle of your knee often indicates a medial meniscus tear. In some cases you may even experience pain throughout your entire knee joint.
Pain Worsens With Use
Pain will become worse when you try to bend, straighten or twist your knee, during or after exercise (especially activities involving deep knee bends) and sometimes even just by putting weight on your knee. Your doctor may recommend that you use a crutch or cane to minimize the load placed on your torn meniscus to alleviate pain and further damage while you are trying to heal.
Stiffness and Weakness
You may find that your range of motion is limited and that you are not able to bend or straighten your knee all the way. You may also experience a buckling or weakness in your knee that happens when a torn meniscus fragment slips out of being lodged between your bones. A reflex relaxation of the thigh muscles creates weakness in your knee joint resulting in poor stability.
Degeneration of the Joint
Once injured, the meniscus is more susceptible to slowly wearing away with regular knee movements. When this happens more friction occurs against the articular cartilage and this cartilage wears away from the surface of the femur and tibia. With less protective covering, the joint begins to deteriorate. If your knee tissue begins to degenerate you have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) over time.
You will experience swelling either immediately if your blood vessels are disrupted because of a traumatic event, or within 12 hours after the tear occurs. Swelling over time or recurring is a result of synovial fluid filling the joint cavity, as your body tries to protect itself (this is often called "water on the knee").
Grinding, Popping, Clicking, or Locking
These symptoms can range from being annoying to downright painful and can last a few seconds or be persistent for a few weeks. Joint locking occurs when the fragment of torn meniscus does not work its way out of being lodged between your femur and tibia resulting in an inability to straighten or bend your knee. This can be painful and may cause weakness in the knee of 'giving way' or snaps, clicks, catches or jerks in the knee. You may have to manually move or manipulate your knee to get relief.
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Stages of Symptoms
There tend to be 4 stages of symptoms dependent on the type of meniscus injury you experience.
If you have a minor tear you will often experience pain and slight swelling within the first 12 hours of noticing the discomfort. These symptoms often go away within a 2 - 3 week period.
If you have a moderate tear you will often have pain near the location of your meniscus tear, especially when twisting or squatting. Swelling will generally increase over 2 - 3 days, as will your stiffness, which will result in a limited range of motion when bending your knee. Symptoms will eventually go away but will tend to recur with minor twisting or overuse.
If you have a severe tear, pieces of torn meniscus can move into your joint space and lead to a locked knee that is very swollen, stiff and painful. These symptoms come on quite quickly. Bruising and swelling with severe pain within minutes of an injury, generally indicate a tear of your ligament as well as your meniscus.
If you suffer from a degenerative tear, it may not have resulted from one specific incident, but rather wear and tear over the years. You also may not recall when or how your symptoms started, however it is often from a squatted position. Pain and minimal swelling are often the only signs you will experience, which last indefinitely. You may also have some knee grinding or catching, depending on the extent of the degeneration.
Although your symptoms may disappear on their own, they often carry-on or return without proper treatment. If a meniscus tear goes untreated, the situation can lead to a complete tear and long-term damage.
Should You Seek Medical Attention?
It is recommended that you see a physician with any continued discomfort and/or pain in your knee or if you experience any of the symptoms below:
- Increased or constant instability or inflammation of the knee (swelling, pain, heat or redness) that lasts longer than 2-3 days.
- Locking, catching or buckling of your knee on a regular basis, or very limited range of motion (can't fully extend, bend or rotate your knee or lower leg).
- Constant clicking, popping or grinding sounds in your knee.
- Unable to participate in activities or work due to the pain or limited range of motion.
- Knee looks deformed or you have significant bruising around the joint.
- A traumatic accident may have broken or dislocated a bone.
- Any other unusual symptoms.
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Meniscus Tear Treatment - What You Can Do!
Conservative treatment of your meniscus tear is to reduce the swelling to "open up" the area for more blood flow. Anyone in the health-care business knows that your blood supplies the oxygen and much needed nutrients required to heal any soft tissue injuries. This is why for years doctors, trainers and other medical professional have recommended RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to treat the pain and swelling of fresh injuries, chronic pain, and after any re-injury.
Step 1 - Ice Compression Therapy
Although RICE can help to treat these symptoms, ice and freezer gel packs reach temperatures so low they can cause cryoburn, an ice burn on your skin. The problem is, up until now there hasn't been any other option to treat painful conditions and injuries, so ice and blue gel packs (full of anti-freeze and chemicals) have been the only choice up until now.
Fortunately you no longer have to settle for these ice cold methods that are uncomfortably cold against your skin, provide short term relief, cause ice burns, numb your skin and underlying tissue beyond feeling so you don't even notice the ice burn until it's too late and pool around your injury putting the cold everywhere except for where you need it most.
A Freezie Wrap® allows you to treat your tendon in an effective and convenient way. Our Freezie Wraps® will wrap around your knee keeping the cold right over your injury for the entire length of your treatment. Our food-grade, non-toxic gel packs can be chilled in the fridge or freezer to tailor the amount of cold that you need for your injury. It doesn't matter how you cool it down, because our gel packs are chock full of gel that's designed to cool down into millions of tiny snowflakes. The cushioned gel will wrap around your knee and it won't budge for the entire treatment period. You'll no longer have to deal with annoying pooling around your knee injury or have to hold a hard block of ice on your knee!
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Step 2 - Improve Circulation, Soften Scar Tissue & Prevent Re-Injury with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy
Once inflammation and swelling have been reduced in your knee, nourishing and strengthening the tissue in your joint is the goal. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) promotes blood flow to the treatment area bringing the necessary oxygen and nutrients to your meniscus and other weakened tissue. BFST® speeds up the body's natural repair process for faster healing and stronger tissue.
Remember, the meniscus is cartilage and does not receive much blood flow naturally and when you rest your knee, you are not creating the natural blood flow your knee usually receives. With the use of Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ you can increase your body’s blood supply to the knee and healing power.
In addition, the fresh blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins (including lactic acid, commonly found in trigger points) that have built up from the injury leaving the area clean and better prepared for healing. Our Knee Inferno Wrap® provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief with no side effects.
Keeping your knee as healthy and strong as possible throughout the healing process will allow you to get back to your regular activities faster. The Knee Inferno Wrap®, available exclusively from MendMeShop®, provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
The benefits of BFST® do not end once your knee pain stops! Even when your meniscus has healed, your activities can put your knee at risk of an overuse injury, tightness, or another tear. An Inferno Wrap® treatment before activity is an easy way to flood the area with fresh nutrient and oxgyen, tissues soft and flexiable and ready to use. Then, end your day with another treatment to prevent tightness from setting in overnight. This incredible healing tool will help you have a healthy knees for years to come!
During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your knee until your pain and inflammation settle. With these easy home therapies you will notice great improvement within a few weeks, with most meniscus patients seeing some improvement quickly. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results. If you start using your knee before it has a chance to heal properly (even though it may feel better), you can end up doing a lot more damage than good!
Prevention and Promotion of Lifelong Health
If you want to avoid re-injury, or manage pain and increase circulation for lifelong health benefits. A Knee Freezie Wrap® and Inferno Wrap® will provide the results you are looking for.
Why spend time in pain, off from work, and missing out on your active lifestyle when you can be proactive about your injury and the health of your body? Talk to your doctor about incorporating a regular routine of using a Freezie Wrap® and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ into your everyday health regimen.
Learn more about how the Knee Freezie Wrap®
is designed to be the most effective cold compression wrap on the market today. More about how the Knee Inferno Wrap®
helps with the healing process.