Injuries to the knee are pretty common, especially in people who are physically active or play sports. Most of the time, knee injuries are simple sprains or strains, meaning the ligaments in the knee have been stretched but not torn. However, meniscal tears and other more serious injuries can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from simple strains or sprains.
Therefore the best thing to do would be to go see your doctor
, who can perform an examination of the knee, looking for weakness and other signs of a potential tear. You should tell your doctor a bit about how the knee injury
happens, as the mechanism of injury can sometimes provide clues as to the potential damage done. Also describe any popping, grinding, or loose sensations in the knee, as these are important additional clues.
Your doctor will examine the knee closely, trying to localize pain and swelling to a particular anatomic area of the knee. They will also want to see how the knee moves and whether there is any looseness to it, as these are important tests for the integrity of the ligaments and meniscus. Based on what they find, they may order additional tests or refer you to see an orthopedic doctor.