Outpatient Center Stanford Medicine

Torn Meniscus

What is a torn meniscus?

The ends of the three bones in the knee - the femur, tibia, and patella - are covered with cartilage (a smooth material that covers bone ends of a joint to cushion the bone and allow the joint to move easily without pain) that acts as a shock absorber. Between the bones of the knees are two crescent-shaped discs of connective tissue, called menisci, which also act as shock absorbers to cushion the lower part of the leg from the weight of the rest of the body.
Meniscus tears can occur during a rotating movement while bearing weight, such as when twisting the upper leg while the foot stays in one place during sports and other activities. Tears can be minor, with the meniscus staying connected to the knee, or major, with the meniscus barely attached to the knee by a cartilage thread.

What are the symptoms of a torn meniscus?

The following are the most common symptoms of a torn meniscus. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of a torn meniscus may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is torn meniscus diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for a torn meniscus may include the following:

Treatment for a torn meniscus:

Specific treatment for a torn meniscus will be determined by your physician based on:

Treatment may include:

Stanford Medicine Resources: