OrthoVirginia Blog

Meniscal Injuries


There are generally two common types of meniscal tears seen in clinical practice: Traumatic tears and degenerative tears.

Patients with traumatic tears generally give a history of a twisting, pivoting or hyperflexion (knee bending) mechanism of injury. Many traumatic tears occur in conjunction with a knee ligament injury such as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. Traumatic tears are typically treated with either repair (sewing the tear back together) thus preserving the native meniscus or with resection (removal of torn portion). Most reparable tears occur in the setting of an ACL tear. Only approximately 10% meniscal tears encountered by physicians are reparable. Preserving meniscal function minimizes the risks of developing osteoarthritis of the knee.

Patients presenting with degenerative meniscal tears are by far more common than patients with traumatic tears. Patients typically give the history of insidious onset of joint line pain in the absence of trauma or a known event. Patients may first notice symptoms with high demand activities such as running and weightlifting. Patients may not have symptoms with lower demand activities. Degenerative meniscal tears occur in high frequency with osteoarthritis of the knee. It is important in this setting to determine how much pain is from the meniscal tear and how much from the arthritis since the treatment of the two are distinctly different. Nearly all, if not all degenerative meniscal tears are treated with resection and balancing of the tear to minimize symptoms and limit tear progression. The goal with resection is to remove the least amount of meniscal tissue involving the torn portion while maximizing the remaining meniscus in a stable and balanced condition.

To learn more about meniscal injuries, watch Dr. Lawhorn's video below

Dr. Keith Lawhorn practices in our Fair Oaks office. To learn more about Dr. Lawhorn, read his bio on our website.