Either from aging or injury, a meniscus tear is one of the most common reasons for knee pain. At Next Step Orthopedics in McKinney, Texas our board-certified doctor, Dominique Nickson, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating meniscus tears. Here he shares more about where your meniscus is located, what a meniscus tear is, and why it’s such a common knee injury for young and old alike.
Understanding your knee
Your knee is a complex machine comprised of three bones:
- Shin bone (tibia)
- Femur bone (thigh bone)
- Patella (knee cap)
You also have two C-shaped, rubber-like meniscus disks that act as shock absorbers for your knee joints. Your lateral meniscus is on the outer side of your knee, and your medial meniscus in on the inside of your knee. Together, your menisci help bear the brunt of your weight and movements and keep your bones from rubbing together.
Why are meniscus tears so common?
You may wonder why these hardworking disks tear so easily. The answer points back to the type of tear you have. Acute tears are common because they’re usually the result of contact sports or an activity that causes you to twist, jump, bounce, or rotate frequently. You can see why many active kids and adults who play football, basketball, soccer, tennis, and hockey suffer a meniscus tear.
Unlike many of the other parts of your body that are self-healing, meniscal tissue is not regenerative. Every movement, twist, and rotation, causes wear and tear over time, and as you get older, your menisci gradually degrade and cause pain.
Symptoms of meniscus tear
Though you may not have pain or problems when you walk, other telltale signs of a meniscus tear include:
- Knee pain
- Clicking or popping sound when you bend your knee
- Catching or locking when you bend your knee
- Loss of range of motion
Without treatment, a portion of the meniscus can come loose and migrate into the joint.
Meniscus tear treatment
Dr. Nickson opts for the most effective and conservative treatments first. He suggests:
- Ice therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
If your tear is severe, he may recommend arthroscopic surgery to make the repair or remove the damaged part of the meniscus. At your consultation, he’ll outline a plan for you so you’ll know exactly what to expect.
For comprehensive and compassionate care for your knee pain, call us at (972) 547-0047 or book an appointment online.