Meniscal injuries in active patients

Theodore T. Manson, Andrew J. Cosgarea

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Knee injuries are frequent in active individuals. Primary care physicians are often confronted with patients who have sustained tears of the knee menisci. Following a discussion of epidemiology and clinical and radiographic diagnosis of meniscal tears, guidelines for referral as well as principles of conservative and surgical treatment will be reviewed. EPIDEMIOLOGY: The overall incidence of meniscal tears that lead to surgery is 60 to 70 per 100 000 per year. One third of meniscal tears are associated with sports injuries. REVIEW SUMMARY: The menisci of the human knee are crescent-shaped structures composed of fibrocartilage that lie on the articular surface of the tibia and are integral components of knee biomechanics. Injuries to the knee menisci are common, especially in athletes. Short-term sequelae of meniscal injury include knee pain as well as deficits in knee range of motion. Long-term sequelae of meniscal injury include degenerative changes in the knee joint with associated knee pain and stiffness. Conservative treatments involving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physical therapy are often sufficient for the treatment of meniscal tears. A patient who presents with either mechanical symptoms of catching and locking, or range-of-motion deficits will often benefit from surgery. Surgical treatment options include partial meniscectomy or meniscal repair. TYPE OF AVAILABLE EVIDENCE: Prospective and retrospective cohort studies, case-control series. GRADE OF AVAILABLE EVIDENCE: Fair to Good. CONCLUSION: Meniscal injuries are common and can be diagnosed with a combination of physical examination and magnetic resonance imaging. Treatment options vary by the age of the patient and extent of torn meniscus, but include physical therapy and NSAIDs for minimally symptomatic tears and surgery for symptomatic tears or tears that cause abnormalities of joint motion and catching and locking in that range of motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-552
Number of pages8
JournalAdvanced Studies in Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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