Evidence-based rationale for treatment of meniscal lesions in athletes

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2022 May;30(5):1511-1519. doi: 10.1007/s00167-021-06694-6. Epub 2021 Aug 20.


Meniscal injuries in elite athletes are a common cause of missed game time and even have the potential to be career shortening. In this patient group, care must be paid not only to the pathology, but also to a player's contract status, time in the season, specific demands of his/her sport and position on the field, and future consequences. Successful treatment requires the clinician to understand the player's goals and needs, communicate effectively between all stakeholders, and a have knowledge of the challenges posed by the different types of meniscal tear seen in this population. Paramount is the distinction between injuries to the medial and lateral meniscus. Deficiency of the lateral meniscus, as a result of a tear or a meniscectomy, leads to frequent early problems and inexorably to chondral degeneration thereby affecting an athlete's ability to perform. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to repair the majority of lateral meniscal tears. Medial meniscal tears pose a more challenging treatment dilemma, as the success of partial meniscectomy in achieving reproducible, early return to play must be balanced against the long-term degenerative consequences. Many meniscal tears are correctly treated non-operatively.Level of evidence V.

Keywords: Lateral meniscus; Medial meniscus; Meniscal repair; Meniscal root tear; Meniscal tear.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy
  • Athletes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Knee Injuries* / surgery
  • Male
  • Meniscectomy
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries* / surgery