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Torn Meniscus of the Knee

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A torn meniscus can occur in a number of ways including everything from simple walking to traumatic sports injuries to routine "wear and tear."

Symptoms of a torn meniscus are pain and swelling of the knee as well as clicking or locking while the joint is being used. Marshfield Clinic has medical specialists expertly trained in treatment of a torn meniscus.


Your physician will evaluate the severity of the injury and recommend a specific treatment plan to address it. Possible treatments include:


Over-the-counter medications are commonly effective for pain relief.

NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may also be prescribed to keep swelling down and are often recommended in combination with pain relievers.

Physical Therapy

A patient may be asked to simply curb some of their normal activities to allow the knee to recover. A course of regular exercise to the legs may be helpful in building up muscle around the knee and keeping weight off the meniscus cartilage.


A corticosteroid injection can help relieve knee pain and lead to an improvement in knee function.


Arthroscopic (using a fiber optic instrument and small incision) surgery is a common treatment for tears of the meniscus. Most tears are treated either by a partial meniscectomy (tissue trimming) or meniscus repair. The specific treatment is based on the tear pattern and location. While a meniscus repair is preferable to help preserve optimal knee function, most tears require a partial meniscectomy​ procedure. Your surgeon will discuss the treatment that may be best for you.

Preventive tip

When playing sports, wear shoes designed for the surface you’re playing or running on, such as a track or tennis court. It will help prevent injury.

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If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

What Do You Know About Knee Injury?

Your knees are complex joints and that makes them vulnerable to injury. Learning how to prevent knee injuries and treating them if they occur can help you stay active at work and play. Test your knowledge of knees by taking this quiz, based on information from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

1. Ligaments connect muscles to bones.
2. The knee has 7 ligaments.
3. You may hear a popping sound when a knee ligament is injured.
4. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is most often injured by lifting something heavy.
5. Which test is NOT used to diagnose a knee ligament injury?
6. A knee ligament can be repaired with a surgery called:
7. The ACL can be rebuilt with a piece of your own knee or leg tendon.

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