Meniscal Injury is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. Explore these free sample topics:

Medicine Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • The menisci are fibrocartilaginous structures between the femoral condyles and tibial plateaus.
  • Each meniscus has a body, anterior and posterior horn.
  • The menisci help stabilize the knee, lubricate, and distribute forces across the joint.
  • There are acute/traumatic and degenerative meniscal tears.
  • The inner 2/3 of the menisci are avascular and heal poorly after injury.

Geriatric Considerations
Meniscal tears in older patients are typically due to chronic degeneration.

Pediatric Considerations
  • Meniscal injuries are rare in children <10 years old.
  • Meniscal tears in children are often due to a discoid meniscus (anatomic variant with thicker and wider meniscus).
  • MRI is less sensitive and specific for diagnosing meniscal tears in children <12 years of age.


  • More common in the 3rd to 5th decades of life
  • More common in males

Medial meniscus more commonly injured

One of the most common musculoskeletal injuries

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • Acute/traumatic tears occur due to a twisting motion of the knee with foot planted.
    • More common <40 years old
  • Degenerative tears occur with minimal trauma.
    • More common >40 years old

Presence of a discoid meniscus increases the risk for a meniscal tear. No specific gene locus has been identified.

Risk Factors

  • Acute/traumatic:
    • High degree of physical activity (especially cutting sports)
    • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) insufficiency
  • Degenerative:
    • Increased age (>60 years), male
    • Obesity

General Prevention

  • Treatment and rehabilitation of previous knee injuries, particularly ACL injuries
  • Strengthening and increased flexibility of quadriceps and hamstring muscles

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Acute/traumatic:
    • ACL is concomitantly torn in 1/3 of cases.
    • Medial and lateral collateral ligament tears
  • Degenerative:
    • Baker cyst—strong association with medial meniscal tears
    • Osteoarthritis (OA)—degenerative tears can be considered as an early stage of OA in older patients.

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


* When formatting your citation, note that all book, journal, and database titles should be italicized* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Meniscal Injury ID - 116901 ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Stephens,Mark B, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -