Ask An Orthopedist: Meniscus Tear

Calendar November 3, 2016


I’m 55, active, and have been diagnosed with: Subtle horizontal the tear within posterior body of the medial meniscus extending to the inferior surface and questionable subtle horizontal tear of the posterior horn medial meniscus. No displaced meniscal tissue. The doctor has provided options of either physical therapy or surgical removal of the torn portions of the meniscus. There was no recommendation as to which option is the best for someone active. The pain is not bad so I can live with this but I do wish to remain active. If I remain active and do not have the torn portion removed does this increase the possibility of further tearing versus having a portion of the meniscus removed and smoothed during surgery? If I have the surgery and remain active do I then increase my possibility of osteoarthritis given reduced meniscal tissue?

If you are already physically active then physical therapy is not necessary. So basically it comes down to having the surgery or not. If you don’t, and the meniscus tear allows you to do what you want to do, then that is fine. There is a slight risk that you could increase the size of the tear, but whether the tear is small, medium, or large, your options are to live with it or have the tear removed. Removal of torn meniscal tissue does not necessarily lead to the development of arthritis unless the majority of the meniscus is removed, which is rare. I 100% agree with you that whichever decision you make should be made in order to keep you as active as you would like.

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