A meniscus tear leads to pain and a loss of function in the knee, as well as other uncomfortable symptoms. Dominique Nickson, MD, of Next Step Orthopedics is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who offers accurate diagnosis and effective treatment to patients with the symptoms of a meniscus tear. This service is available to patients throughout McKinney, Texas including Frisco, Allen, Plano and Prosper, Texas.

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What is the meniscus?

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage shaped like a “C.” It’s responsible for providing cushioning to the knee during movement. Each knee has one meniscus on either side to keep the knee balanced and steady.

What are the symptoms of a torn meniscus?

Some of the most common symptoms of a torn meniscus include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Reduced range of motion in the knee
  • Poor stability in the knee
  • A feeling that the knee is locked
  • Popping in the knee

Mild cases of a torn meniscus may produce only slight pain and swelling. However, more severe meniscus tears can cause the knee to stop functioning properly.

What causes a meniscus tear?

The most common cause of a meniscus tear is a sudden twisting or turning of the knee, usually while the foot is planted in one place. This often occurs during sporting events or activities when patients are performing quick, dramatic motions. However, some patients may experience a meniscus tear with only minimal trauma if the meniscus is worn. Patients may notice a popping sensation when the cartilage tears.

How does Dr. Nickson diagnose meniscus tears?

To diagnose a torn meniscus, Dr. Nickson will begin by reviewing the patient’s medical history and asking about symptoms. He will also perform an examination of the patient’s knee, paying close attention to the patient’s range of motion, the stability of the knee, and any areas of tenderness. To confirm the diagnosis, Dr. Nickson may order an X-ray and MRI of the knee.

How does Dr. Nickson treat meniscus tears?

Depending on the extent of the damage and the patient’s preferences, Dr. Nickson may recommend rehabilitation, anti-inflammatory medications, and/or arthroscopic surgery to patients with meniscus tears. Dr. Nickson will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment option he recommends so that patients can make the right choice.

How does arthroscopic surgery help with meniscus tears?

Depending on the specifics of the patient’s condition, Dr. Nickson can perform arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn meniscus or remove a damaged portion. After the surgery, patients will typically experience less pain and better stability in the knee.