A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.
Each of your knees has two menisci — C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone. A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. You also might feel a block to knee motion and have trouble extending your knee fully.
Conservative treatment — such as rest, ice and medication — is sometimes enough to relieve the pain of a torn meniscus and give the injury time to heal on its own. In other cases, however, a torn meniscus requires surgical repair.
If you’ve torn your meniscus, you might have these signs and symptoms in your knee:
A popping sensation
Swelling or stiffness
Pain, especially when twisting or rotating your knee
Difficulty straightening your knee fully
Feeling as though your knee is locked in place when you try to move it
Contact your doctor if your knee is painful or swollen, or if you can’t move your knee in the usual ways.