Review of meniscal injury and associated sports

Am J Sports Med. 1985 Jan-Feb;13(1):1-4. doi: 10.1177/036354658501300101.


Meniscal injuries produce disability in a large portion of the population, and sports injuries are a common cause. Nicholas emphasized the importance of epidemiologic studies in an effort to better define the risk of various sports. There are significant regional differences in sports-related meniscal injuries depending upon the popularity of specific sports. Although publications in the European literature document some of these variations, there is little epidemiologic documentation of the variation in specific areas of the United States. Meniscectomies performed in Syracuse, New York, from 1973 to 1982 were reviewed. Sports-related meniscal injuries were tabulated and compared against all other causes. Our results indicate that the incidence of meniscal injury resulting in meniscectomy is 61 per 100,000 population. The sex ratio was three males to one female. Medial versus lateral meniscus injury was 81 versus 19%. Football had a 75% predominance of medial meniscectomy; basketball, 75%; wrestling, 55%; skiing, 78%; and baseball, 90%. Our data indicate that there are differences in the ratio of medial versus lateral meniscal disruption associated with specific sports activities. Medial meniscal injuries were, nevertheless, consistently more common in all of our categories except wrestling, where the frequency of lateral meniscal tear is nearly equal to that of medial meniscal tear. Additionally, the right knee is at a greater risk of meniscal injury in basketball than in other sports or the general population, and female skiers are at equal or greater risk of meniscal injury compared to male skiers.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / pathology
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / pathology
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*