How To Conduct 7 Easy Torn Meniscus Tests

Since my husband and I started preparing to move apartments, I have been doing a lot of heavy lifting. Yesterday, as I was lifting a box, I felt my knee make a popping sound! I was so afraid that I had injured my knee so I quickly did some research to find out.

It turns out that the sensation of slipping or popping in the knee is one of the symptoms of a torn meniscus. I have always been a DIY person so I decided to conduct the seven torn meniscus tests myself praying I would fail.

First, a little about the meniscus and how it could get injured.

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How You Can Tear Your Meniscus ?

Meniscus Tears

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that acts like a cushion between your thigh and shin bones. Each knee has two menisci joints. Meniscus tears are one of the most common injuries during activities that involve putting pressure on the knee or rotating the knee. (1)

Some of the symptoms of a meniscus tear include: (2)

  • The sensation of your knee popping or slipping
  • The feeling of your knee "giving away"
  • Pain in the knee when touched
  • Loss of full range of motion
  • Stiffness and swelling

What You Will Need To Conduct The Tests

  • Steady chair or an object to hold on
  • A partner to help to perform the tests
  • Small bed or a flat elevated surface to lie down

7 Self Tests For Torn Meniscus

Test 1: The Thessaly Test

  • Stand on the leg that you want to test bending it about five degrees
  • ​Make sure your foot is flat on the floor
  • ​Flex the other foot lifting it off the ground
  • ​Twist your leg to the right and the left as if doing the twist
  • If you feel pain in the joint or feel your joint locking as you twist, the test is positive.

You can also try the test bending lower up to fifteen to twenty degrees


Test 2: The Childress Sign Test

  • Squat low about 45 degrees
  • ​Walk like a duck by alternating the foot that goes forward
  • ​Try not to bend your knee when you are doing this
  • The test comes back positive if you feel a joint pain when you move

​Test 3: The Ege’s Test

This test is used to determine whether the tear in your Meniscus is a medial or a lateral tear. (3)

A. To detect a lateral Meniscus tear:

  • ​Stand with your knees about 10-15cm apart
  • ​Fully extend your knees as you stand
  • ​Align your feet so that your toes are facing each other like you are a duck
  • Squat as far as you can
  • Slowly stand up again
  • If you feel pain in the early part of the squat, the tear is in the front part of the knee
  • If it hurts when you are low in your squat, it is in the back part of the knee. 

B. To detect a medial Meniscus tear:

  • ​Stand with your knees 30-40 cm apart
  • ​Fully extend your knees as you stand
  • Align your feet so that your heels are facing each other
  • Squat up to 90 degrees if you can 
  • Slowly stand up again
  • If you feel pain or click during this test, it is positive

​Test 4: Payers Test

  • ​Lie down on a flat surface
  • ​Flex the involved leg so that your foot is flat against your knee as if making a number four position
  • Try and slowly move your involved leg down opening up your legs
  • If you feel pain in the inner part of the knee as you open it up, the test indicates you may have a meniscus tear.

I didn’t feel any pain in this test but found it so hard to open my legs in the number four position! I discovered I wasn’t as flexible as I imagined.


​Test 5: Bounce Home Test

  • ​Lie down flat on your back
  • ​Make sure your leg is relaxed
  • Let your friend lift the affected leg to a 90-degree angle
  • Without supporting the knee, have your friend guide your knee as it drops by holding it lightly on the side
  • Then, holding the lower part of the leg, have them drop your leg so it is straight
  • If you are unable to extend your leg as it bounces back fully
  • If you experience a sharp pain when lowering the leg, you may have a meniscus tear.

​Test 6: Apley Grind Test

According to some studies, the Apley Grind test has an overall accuracy rate of 74% and 96% for the medial and lateral meniscus respectively. (4) You will need someone to help you with this test.

  • ​Lie with your stomach down on a bed or any flat surface
  • ​Have your friend lift your affected leg so that it is at a 90-degree angle position
  • Let him wrap his hands around your ankle 
  • Then make him put pressure on your heel by bending so that his shoulder presses down on your foot
  • While in this position, have him move your leg as if in a grinding motion
  • If the rotation plus compression is painful or has limited rotation compared to the other side, you likely have a meniscus injury. 

​Test 7: The McMurray's Test

  • ​Lie down flat on your back with your legs fully flexed
  • ​Have your friend flex your affected knee to a 90-degree angle
  • Let him rotate the tibia medially while holding the top of your knee for support with one hand and the sole with the other
  • Let him bring the knee into extension while in the same position
  • Repeat this using different angles of medial knee flexion’s
  • Then laterally rotate the tibia holding the top of your knee for support
  • Let him bring the knee into full extension while holding the same degree of flexion
  • Repeat this using different angles of lateral knee flexion
  • If any pain is experienced or you hear an audible click when performing the test, you have a positive result.

I was so happy that none of the tests came back positive! The torn meniscus recovery time for athletes is about six weeks depending on where the injury is.

Even after recovery, many athletes have to find the best knee brace for meniscus tears since the knee may still be very unstable. 

Conclusion

Although doing these torn meniscus tests doesn’t make you and I doctors, they can at least give us an idea of what we are dealing with.

After conducting the tests with the help of your friend, you can give your doctor an accurate description of where your pain is. This will enable him to give diagnose your symptoms in the shortest possible time.

  • Did you find this article helpful?
  • Have you ever experienced the popping sensation in your knee after doing some physical activity?
  • What did you do about it?

I'd love to hear all your knee experiences in the comments below. Also, remember to share this article with friends and family.