Doctor: Do I have a meniscus tear ?
What do you find on exam with a meniscus tear ?
It’s important to have an experienced orthopedic surgeon evaluate your knee. After hearing your story, a careful examination should identify several things. First, the location of pain. This is usually along the joint line either on the inside or outside of your knee. It is usually tender. Next, it is often difficult to fully bend and straighten your knee. Many people have pain as they come out in to full extension or straight. People also have pain when they try to bend too far. This usually pinches on the meniscus tear and causes pain. Finally, there are some specific moves, the most important called the McMurray’s test, that involve twisting at the knee while bending and straightening. This will often result in a click or pop and cause pain. Sometimes it’s just the click, and sometimes it’s just pain. Both of these are highly suggestive of a meniscus tear.
Do I need an MRI scan for a meniscus tear ?
Does an x-ray show a meniscus tear?
An x-ray will NOT show a meniscus tear. It will show a lot of very other important things including the relationships between the bones of the knee as well as any sign of arthritis. This is always an important step for a good examination. I get x-rays on all my patients.
Can my tear heal without surgery?
Sometimes meniscus tears are in a portion of the meniscus that has a great blood supply and therefore a lot of potential for healing. The vast majority of them, however, do not have this great blood supply and typically will not heal. Many tears need surgery however this is an important discussion for you to have with your orthopedic surgeon.