Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science




Dr Nancy Reid


Meniscal tears are common; there are more than 500,000 cases per year in the United States.1 The menisci are two cartilaginous disks that helps cushion the knee joint and help with joint stability. The tearing of a meniscus is one of the most common knee problems that cause knee pain and mechanical symptoms. Problematic meniscus tears often happen with young athletes during contact sports. Meniscal injuries can be observed in various age groups, not only in athletes playing sports. For example, in adults, fifty years of age and older, degenerative meniscus tears are more likely due to repeated forces over time. A degenerative meniscus tear can be subtler in onset with gradual development of symptoms in the medial or lateral compartments of the knee. A patient with a meniscus tear will suffer from knee pain and swelling, as well as mechanical symptoms such as locking, catching, or clicking. A meniscal tear can affect people’s daily activity, cause lifestyle changes, and eventually a decrease in the quality of life.

Degenerative meniscus tears often need to be treated conservatively without any operation. Using anti-inflammatory medications, injections, and physical therapy to strengthen muscles around the knee helps prevent joint pain and further degeneration of the meniscus. It is uncommon that degenerative meniscus tears require surgery.


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