The association between meniscal and cruciate ligament damage and knee pain in community residents

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2011 Dec;19(12):1422-8. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2011.09.002. Epub 2011 Sep 10.


Objective: To describe the frequency of meniscal and cruciate ligament damage by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and to examine its association with knee pain in community residents in Korea.

Methods: Participants were randomly chosen regardless of knee osteoarthritis (OA) or pain from the population-based Hallym Aging Study. Demographic and knee pain data were obtained by questionnaire. Radiographic evaluations consisted of weight-bearing knee A-P radiographs and 1.5-T MRI scans. We assessed the integrities of the menisci and cruciate ligaments in the dominant knee of subjects without knee pain or in the more symptomatic knee among subjects with knee pain, and examined their association with knee pain using a logistic regression model.

Results: The mean age of the 358 study subjects was 71.8 years, and 51.4% were women. Meniscal and cruciate ligament damage were present in 49.7% and 8.0% of men and in 71.2% and 26.9% of women, respectively. The presence of meniscal damage was significantly associated with the presence of knee pain among subjects without radiographic knee OA (ROA), but not among subjects with ROA. The presence of cruciate ligament tear was associated with knee pain in subjects with or without ROA. The severity of knee pain was significantly correlated with medial meniscal damage grade but not with cruciate ligament tear.

Conclusion: Incidental meniscal or cruciate findings on MRI were common in this elderly population. Among subjects without ROA, the presence of meniscal or cruciate damage was significantly associated with knee pain. The medial meniscal grade was significantly correlated with knee pain severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / diagnostic imaging
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / complications*
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis
  • Knee Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament / diagnostic imaging
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament / injuries*
  • Radiography
  • Sex Distribution
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*