[RESEARCH] Meniscus Tears and Osteoarthritis | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

[RESEARCH] Meniscus Tears and Osteoarthritis

[RESEARCH] Meniscus Tears and Osteoarthritis - themanualtherapist.com

Meniscus Tears and Osteoarthritis

Prevalence of meniscal tears is estimated as ~24-31% of some populations, increasing with age and ranging from 19% in women aged 50–59 years to 56% among men between 70 and 90 years and is markedly higher in established OA subjects. Medial meniscus and/or the posterior horn tears make up 66% of cases, with horizontal and complex tears being the most common. 

Most subjects with a meniscal tear are asymptomatic.

Regardless of morphologic type, meniscal tears are strongly associated with OA cross-sectionally and predict OA longitudinally and are considered to be part of the spectrum of early or pre-radiographic disease

  • Often enough, meniscal tear types are categorized into varying groups for comparison rather than separately compared to each other. 
  • There is a striking lack of data on the relevance of different morphologic types of meniscal tears in OA
  • Horizontal and complex tears are common findings in knees with OA
  • Posterior radial tears of the medial meniscus are associated with a high degree of cartilage loss and meniscal extrusion, and appear to be a highly relevant event in the progression of OA in the knee. 
  • Lateral meniscus radial tears affect younger individuals and are considered post-traumatic. 
  • Despite their suggested high relevance, radial tears are more commonly misdiagnosed on MRI than any other type of tear. 
  • While medial meniscus posterior root tears are of “radial” morphology, there is growing interest in regarding them as a separate entity.
  • Longitudinal and bucket handle tears affect younger individuals and are highly associated with ACL injuries, favoring a traumatic etiology.
  • MRI is important to detect and locate a possible displaced tear. .
  • Further epidemiologic studies should focus on the morphology of specific meniscal tears to better understand their relevance in the genesis and progression of knee OA. 

Jarraya et al. 2017. Meniscus morphology: Does tear type matter? Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. 46(5), pp. 552-561.

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Dalton Urrutia, MSc PT

Dalton is a Physical Therapist from Oregon, currently living and running the performance physiotherapy clinic he founded in London for Grapplers and Strength & Conditioning athletes. Dalton runs the popular instagram account @physicaltherapyresearch, where he posts easy summaries of current and relevant research on health, fitness, and rehab topics. 
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