Facebook Pixel

Meniscal Tear Symptoms & Diagnosis


Torn meniscus may or may not cause symptoms. The ones that do not cause symptoms are usually small tears located in the back of the knee.

Symptoms may include:

  • "Popping" sound at the time of the injury
  • Pain
  • Tightness
  • Swelling within the knee, often called "water on the knee"
  • Locking up, catching, or giving way of the knee
  • Tenderness in the joint


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how you injured your knee, and perform a physical exam. The doctor will perform physical tests to decide if there is a tear. Tests may include:

  • X-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body. It will not show a meniscus tear, but may show some bone abnormality.
  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic radiation waves to make pictures of the inside of the knee. This is effective in diagnosing a meniscal tear.
  • Arthroscopy —a thin, lighted tube inserted through a small incision in the knee to look at the structures inside the knee. With the arthroscope, the tear will be seen and may be removed or repaired as deemed necessary.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2022 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

The Latest in Meniscal Tear Symptoms & Diagnosis

ASK Your Health Question

It's FREE and you'll get a response within 24 hours


POST Info, Tips & Stories

Inspire others to learn from your experiences. Tell your story!

Get Email Updates

Related Topics

Meniscal Tear Guide


Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!