Meniscus Tear Symptoms: Loss of
Of all the meniscus tear symptoms, loss of motion in the knee is one
that can be very frustrating. After all, it is your knee...and not
being able to bend it can be awful. What causes the loss of motion?
Glad you asked...
is the Culprit
In the initial days after a meniscus tear, the symptoms
of swelling and pain contribute to the loss of motion. Swelling is
caused by the initial injury, and that limits your motion by producing
a very tight joint, and pain.
Swelling causes the knee joint capsule to distend, or be very
stretched. The fluid fills up the joint, and it feels very tight. You
can see this just by looking at the knee...it looks like a grapefruit.
With the joint being very tight, there is a lot of pressure on all of
the tissues, and this excites and stimulates all of the nerve
receptors...and this causes pain. When you move your knee to bend it,
it increases the pressure within the joint, and it causes pain. So
pain, caused by swelling, limits your range of motion.
The other factor that can limit your range of motion is the torn
portion of the meniscus. While the torn piece of the meniscus is not
one of the specifc meniscus tear symptoms, it can cause quite a bit of
problems. When the meniscus tears, there may be a portion of it that
Remember the meniscus is
like a "C". The area inside the "C" is where the femur and tibia
articulate, or touch. The bones need to be able to slide and roll on
each other in order for you to move your knee. If the torn part of the
meniscus moves into this area, it can become caught between the two
bones. Sometimes it just causes more pain, or causes the knee to catch,
pop, or click. (Catching, popping, and clicking are other common
meniscus tear symptoms.)
Other times, it restricts
the motion, and you are unable to bend, or straighten the knee. Loss of
motion because of mechanical restrictions usually isn't really apparent
until the swelling has gone down some, and your knee is less painful.
Loss of motion is a signficant symptom, and is a result
of swelling, and possibly mechanical restrictions. Swelling will
subside over time with proper treatment. Mechanical restrictions
usually have to be treated surgically.
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