Prospective evaluation of 1485 meniscal tear patterns in patients with stable knees

Am J Sports Med. Apr-May 2004;32(3):675-80. doi: 10.1177/0095399703258743.


Background: Despite emphasis on classifying meniscal tears based on healing potential of the tear, research has concentrated on unstable knees, and few reports have provided information regarding associated clinical variables in stable knees.

Purpose: To report on a large series of meniscal tears in stable knees that have been carefully mapped by tear shape and tear zones to allow comparison with meniscal tears in unstable knees.

Study design: Prospective case series, reviewed retrospectively.

Methods: A total of 1485 meniscal tears in stable knees were evaluated. Preoperatively, each patient underwent a standardized assessment. Each tear was carefully mapped at arthroscopy. Statistical analysis was performed to determine factors that may be associated with peripheral meniscal tears.

Results: The distribution and shape of tears varied significantly within the radial and circumferential zones in this stable knee population. Five prospective variables were associated with peripheral tears: gender, presence of an effusion, positive McMurray test, varus alignment, or a loss of extension more than 5 degrees.

Conclusions: Patient demographic information and physical examination can be useful in identifying patients who may have a peripheral meniscus tear.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology
  • Knee Injuries / pathology
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Examination
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*