The health care provider will perform a physical examination. This will include a knee examine called the McMurray's test. For this test, you lie on your back while the health care provider holds the heel of your injured leg with your leg bent. Pressure is placed to compress the knee while the leg is rotated in and out to generate discomfort or pain. Pain or a click over the inner part of the joint means an inner (medial) meniscal tear.
For an Apley's compression test, the health care provider will have you lie on your stomach with your knee bent at a 90 degree angle. The provider will hold your foot with both hands and rotate it to the outside (lateral rotation), while a downward force is applied to the foot. The provider's knee and thigh may be used to stabilize your thigh. Pain in the inner part of the joint may indicate an inner (medial) meniscal tear.
The health care provider may ask you to squat down. Pain at extreme flexion and inability to do so may allow the provider to localize the injury.
A test for excess joint fluid is positive in meniscal tears, indicating swelling with fluid around the joint.
Other tests that show meniscus tears may include:
The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and protect the joint from further injury while it heals.
You should not put your full weight on the knee. You may need to use crutches. You may have been given a knee brace. This helps keep your knee from moving and to help you recover.
Other treatments include:
- Ice to reduce swelling
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling and pain
- Corticosteroid injections to cut down the inflammation.
Physical activity is allowed, as tolerated. Physical therapy is recommended to help regain joint and leg strength.
If the injury is acute or if you have a high activity level, knee arthroscopy (surgery) may be necessary. Age has an effect on treatment. Younger patients are more likely to have problems without surgery.