Meniscus Tear Symptoms:
Pain is the most common, frustrating, and problematic of the meniscus
tear symptoms. Its the one that you notice first, that lasts the
longest, and is of the utmost concern. Pain in and of itself is a very
complicated thing. One thing that isn't complicated is the fact that it
stops you in your tracks, effects your life significantly, and can be
What causes the pain from a meniscus tear? Beleive it or not, every
symptom related to meniscus tears contributes to pain. Read on to find
The Nervous System
The human body is extremely complicated. And extremely amazing. The
nervous system is especially unique, and somewhat hard to understand. I
like to think of the nervous system as a system of highways running
throughout the body. They take information from the muscles to the
brain, from the brain to the ligaments, and throughout the body. They
connect everything, and are the communication system. Without the
nerves, nothing works.
Each highway or nerve has specific pathways that are reserved for
specific types of signals. This is important when we talk about pain...
Pain Signals: Where Do They Come From?
ends of the nerves, there are tiny (and I mean really tiny) receptors.
They are designed to recieve different types of signals. Pressure,
pain, heat, etc. Pain receptors, or nociceptors as they are called are
where pain signals come from.
Pain is caused by many things, but no matter what the causes are, they
irritate or stimulate the pain receptors. These signals are transmitted
along pain pathways to the central nervous system, where your brain
interprets the signal, and you comprehend the pain that you are
feeling. All of this occurs in split seconds...instantly even. To keep
a long story short, you just need to remember that lots of different
things can cause stimulation of the pain receptors. This is what
contributes to pain with any type of injury.
Pain From Injury
The damage to the meniscus doesn't actually cause pain. This is because
the meniscus does not have a nerve supply. However, the tissues around
the meniscus, which are often irritated or injured as well, do have
innervation and can cause pain.
The injury causes bleeding, and the bleeding causes swelling. Swelling
causes pressure on all of the joint structures, and that pressure
Meniscus tear symptoms of pain and swelling result in a protective
mechanism within the muscles. This muscular spasm is an involuntary
contraction of the muscles to try to protect the knee. The spasm ends
up causing pain. The pain receptors within the muscles become
stimulated because of the continuous contraction. This begins the pain
/ spasm cycle, where pain causes spasm, spasm causes pain, and it feeds
The loss of range of motion can also contribute to pain. Because you
cannot move your knee normally, you cannot stretch your muscles, and
you cannot move the joint as you usually do. This can cause the aching,
sometimes throbbing pain associated with meniscus tears. Imagine
sitting in the same position for several hours, without being able to
readjust, or shift your weight around. It would get very uncomfortable.
That is what the knee is going through after a meniscus tear. You
cannot move it enough to readjust, and so it begins to ache, causing
Where is the pain?
meniscus tear symptoms produce pain throughout the knee. The
entire thing hurts. You can't pinpoint it because everything inside is
so irritated from the swelling. As you get farther away from the
initial injury, and swelling subsides, the pain will begin to localize
to the medial or lateral joint lines.
Pain is the most common and obvious of all meniscus tear symptoms. All
of the other symptoms cause the pain that you feel. The good news is
that as your swelling and range of motion get better, the pain begins
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