What is a meniscus tear?

One of the most common injuries to the knee joint is a meniscus tear. Young, active adults and athletes are most at risk for a meniscus tear, especially those in contact sports, or who participate in activities that twist the knee while bending or squatting. A meniscus tear occurs when the strong fibrocartilage that makes up the meniscus, rips or separates from its soft tissue attachment (called the peripheral capsule).  Tears can occur in a variety of locations and patterns within the knee. In general, the simpler the pattern and the closer the tear is to the periphery (blood supply) the more amenable it is to repair. Dr. Armando Vidal, orthopedic knee specialist has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating meniscal tears for patients in Vail, Aspen and the surrounding Denver, Colorado communities.

Meniscus | Vail CO

What causes a meniscus tear?

The meniscus is exposed to a variety of forces and loads.  In the young patient, the tissue is very elastic and durable and therefore tears usually occur as a result of a traumatic or acute injury.  However, as we age, the meniscus starts to degenerate, and the tissue becomes more friable (easily damaged).  As a result, meniscal tears in adults can occur with less energy and in less acute settings.  Typically twisting or squatting activities can result in tearing of the meniscus.

What are the symptoms of a meniscus tear?

The most common symptom of a meniscus tear is knee pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain and/or swelling
  • A popping sensation or sound at the time of injury
  • Knee stiffness and limited range of motion
  • Locking or catching of the knee
  • Feeling of the knee “giving away” or knee instability

How are tears of the knee cartilage diagnosed?

An MRI scan, along with a physical exam can diagnose the majority of meniscal tears.  It is important to note however, that some meniscal tears are difficult to diagnose, especially those at the periphery of the knee. These tears require an experienced knee specialist for an accurate diagnosis along with a proven treatment plan. For patients in Vail, Aspen and the surrounding Denver Colorado communities, Dr. Vidal will discuss symptoms, examine the injured knee and diagnose the injury. Dr. Vidal will consider each patient individually and create the best treatment plan for a successful outcome.

How is a meniscus tear treated?

For information on a meniscus repair, please click HERE.

Meniscus Repair Specialist

Are you an athlete who participates in a sport that involve frequent twisting and squatting? If so, you may be at risk of developing a meniscus injury, including a meniscus tear. Complex knee surgeon, Doctor Armando Vidal has diagnosed and formulated specific treatment plans for many patients in Vail, Aspen, and the surrounding Denver, Colorado communities who have experienced a traumatic force or injury resulting in a damaged meniscus. Contact Dr. Vidal’s team today!


The Steadman Clinic – Vail, CO
180 S Frontage Rd W
Vail, CO 81657

The Steadman Clinic – Frisco, CO
226 Lusher Court
Ste 101
Frisco, CO 80443

The Steadman Clinic – Edwards, CO
322 Beard Creek Road
Edwards, CO 81632


Office Hours
Monday-Friday: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Mailing Address
181 Meadow Dr, Suite 400
Vail, CO 81657

970-401-8940 Direct
970-476-1100 General Appointment Scheduling