Patient: Hi my question is this if I had a 5% meniscal tear in my knee would this be enough of a tear for surgery, or would more conservative treatment be the best course of action considering I have early onset arthritus in the same knee ?
Doctor: The menisci are C-shaped wedges of fibro cartilage located between the tibia and femur, and very close related to knee ligaments and attached also to the joint capsule. They are susceptible to get injured with leg rotation movements or rotational forces applied to them, and the lesion produced can be partial or complete tear. Meniscus injuries are common in young and active people as you, who are involved in sporting or physical activities. Locking or buckling is a common symptom after a meniscus lesion develops. Locking usually occurs at 20-45° of joint extension. If a torn fragment has been trapped within the joint, extension may feel limited against a rubbery resistance. Joint inflammation or capsular involvement also may resemble locking. A more reliable indicator of meniscus lesion is a click or snaps after the joint unlocks, it can be or not associated with pain. A sensation of giving way may occur when the loose fragment becomes lodged for a moment in the knee joint, causing a sense of buckling. Spontaneous healing is common because of the rich blood supply in the meniscal periphery. Successful recovery from a meniscal tear is helped by a gradual resolution of symptoms over 6 weeks with a return to normal activity by 3 months. Many meniscal tears heal spontaneously, this might be your particular case with just 5% tear. Also, can be treated with casting depending of the severity of the tear. With time the symptoms improve. If there is no significative improvement you should get a clinical (orthopedic surgeon) and Imaging (MRI) evaluation of your knee.