Load-induced volume change is an important aspect of knee meniscus function because volume loss creates fluid pressure, which minimizes friction and helps support compressive loads. The knee meniscus is unusual amongst cartilaginous tissues in that it is loaded not only in axial compression, but also in circumferential tension between its tibial attachments. Despite the physiologic importance of the knee meniscus' tensile properties, its volumetric strain in tension has never been directly measured, and predictions of volume strain in the scientific literature are inconsistent. In this study, we apply uniaxial tension to bovine knee meniscus and use biplanar imaging to directly observe the resulting three-dimensional volume change and unloaded recovery, revealing that tension causes volumetric contraction. Compression is already known to also cause contraction; therefore, all major physiologic loads compress and pressurize the meniscus, inducing fluid outflow. Although passive unloaded recovery is often described as slow relative to loaded loss, here we show that at physiologic strains the volume recovery rate in the meniscus upon unloading is faster than the rate of volume loss. These measurements of volumetric strain are an important step toward a complete theory of knee meniscus fluid flow and load support.