By Mayo Clinic News Network

A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting the pressure of your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.

Each of your knees has two menisci -- C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone. A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. You also might have trouble extending your knee fully.

Conservative treatment -- such as rest, ice and medication -- is sometimes enough to relieve the pain of a torn meniscus and give the injury time to heal on its own. In other cases, however, a torn meniscus requires surgical repair.

If you've torn your meniscus, you may experience the following signs and symptoms in your knee:

  • A popping sensation
  • Swelling or stiffness
  • Pain, especially when twisting or rotating your knee
  • Difficulty straightening your knee fully
  • Experiencing what feels like a block to moving your knee, as if your knee were locked in place

Initial treatment

Treatment for a torn meniscus often begins conservatively. Your doctor may recommend:

  • Rest. Avoid activities that aggravate your knee pain, especially any activity that might cause you to twist your knee. You might want to use crutches to take pressure off your knee and promote healing.
  • Ice. Ice can reduce knee pain and swelling. Use a cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables or a towel filled with ice cubes for about 15 minutes at a time. Do this every four to six hours the first day or two, and then as often as needed.
  • Medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers also can help ease knee pain.

Therapy

Physical therapy can help you strengthen the muscles around your knee and in your legs to help stabilize and support the knee joint. Arch supports or other shoe inserts can help to distribute force more evenly around your knee or decrease stress on certain areas of your knee.

Surgery

If your knee remains painful, stiff or locked, your doctor may recommend surgery. It's sometimes possible to repair a torn meniscus, especially in children and young adults. If the tear can't be repaired, the meniscus may be surgically trimmed. Surgery may be done through tiny incisions using an arthroscope. After surgery, you will need to do exercises to optimize knee strength and stability.

Source:http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/torn-meniscus/basics/definition/con-20029237/