Meniscal injuries in the young, athletically active patient

Phys Sportsmed. 2011 Feb;39(1):123-30. doi: 10.3810/psm.2011.02.1870.


Meniscal injuries are common in young physically active individuals, particularly those who are involved in contact level 1 sports that involve frequent pivoting, such as soccer and American football. This is a unique population because of their high physical activity at a young age, and it is important that correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment are provided, as the medial and lateral menisci are essential for normal knee function. In this article, we review the anatomy and function of the meniscus, the epidemiology of meniscal tears, and mechanism(s) of injury. Important concomitant injuries are also discussed. When making a diagnosis, relevant patient history, physical examination, and appropriate imaging studies are required. Nonoperative treatment is rarely successful for treating meniscal tears in young athletes, and therefore repair of the torn menisci is often required. We also discuss partial resection (which should only be performed when repair is not possible), as well as rehabilitation protocols after repair has been performed. All of these factors associated with meniscal injuries are important for a physician when diagnosing and treating these often complex injuries.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Physical Examination
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Young Adult