Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Includes Expert Content
    Knee Pain
    OmahaMom1996 posted:
    I am having knee pain and my ortho dr says it is not arthritis. He wants me to have an MRI because he thinks it may be a torn meniscus (spelling?). When I looked online, there's nothing that can be done for this so should I go through with the MRI?
    annette030 responded:
    When having any test, to decide ahead of time whether or not to have it, I ask myself the following question- How will knowing the info provided by the test affect my treatment plan? Then I decide.

    I have FMS which makes pain worse, and seems to make the pain last longer than other people. I had left knee pain and severe swelling twice, about 5 years apart. The Xrays really didn't show anything. The ortho guy I saw was great. He explained what an MRI would and would not show, and answered my questions vary well. I opted not to have an MRI, even the second time around. He also felt "watchful waiting" was a good plan. It took three months, but the pain and swelling finally went away. It has not returned in ten years now.

    TALK to your ortho doctor, see what he says, maybe see a second one for another opinion.

    Take care, Annette
    _swank_ responded:
    There are things that can be done about a torn meniscus. You mentioned your doctor "thinks" it's a torn meniscus. That means he does not "know". An MRI can confirm what he thinks and/or find something else that's wrong. An MRI is not that big of a deal but if you don't plan on following any treatment plan then there's no point in it. If you want to know what's wrong with your knee then an MRI is your best choice. The only other way to know for sure is arthroscopic surgery.
    Peter Abaci, MD responded:
    The most important part of evaluating any patient's problem is the history and physical exam performed that is done when you see the doctor. Often, too much emphasis gets put on the results of tests like MRIs, and as I have mentioned here in the past, I frequently tell my own patients that I treat people, not MRIs. Having said that, it sounds like based on your doctor's assessment of your condition that he feels the most likely problem is a torn meniscus.

    His recommendation for obtaining the MRI could be seen as a tool to guide further treatment. That might include what types of exercises or physical therapy to recommend, and in some cases, surgery may be an option for a torn meniscus. I think it would be wise to have an MRI before making any decisions on knee surgery in particular if indeed that is being considered. If not, then you could certainly consider delaying having the MRI and pursue managing it based on your doctor's clinical impressions.
    OmahaMom1996 replied to Peter Abaci, MD's response:
    Thank you very much for your reply. I have already completed 6 weeks of physical therapy which helped very little and surgery has not been mentioned. The only treatment option given so far is a cortizone shot since I am not a fan of pain pills. Due to your suggestion that the MRI would be wise, I will keep the appointment and just hope that it shows something, even if it is a torn meniscus. Thank you again.
    OmahaMom1996 replied to _swank_'s response:
    Thanks for your reply. I was not worried so much about the MRI as the cost of the MRI. Though finances are tough right now, I will go through with it and hope that the true problem is found, torn meniscus or not.
    OmahaMom1996 replied to annette030's response:
    Thanks for our advice Annette. My pain is also in my left knee and have decided to have the MRI just to find out what the real problem is. Hopefully it will turn out to be treatable without pain medication and/or surgery.
    OmahaMom1996 replied to Peter Abaci, MD's response:
    I had the MRI and the dr wants me to have surgery to put a stitch in my torn meniscus and to cut a flap off it. I wanted to get a second opinion but my insurance plans only have two ortho drs and the dr that wants to do the surgery is involved in both offices. The dr says I will only be on crutches for a couple of days (as well as pain pills for a couple of days). Does this sound like a feasible solution to you?

    Featuring Experts

    Peter Abaci, MD , is certified in anesthesia and pain management by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Abaci received his undergraduate educat...More

    Helpful Tips

    Judging people with or without chronic pain
    I try not to judge people by anything they do if they aren't hurting themselves or someone else. Unfortunately, I know that I've been judge ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 8 found this helpful

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.