Bone and Joint Blog

What are the Different Types of Meniscus Tears?

Posted Oct 21, 2019 11:32:56 AM

Each joint in the human body is an intricate design, requiring a multitude of parts to work together seamlessly to provide smooth, pain-free movement. There are bones, tendons, ligaments and cartilage, precisely positioned and connected for optimal function. But, factors such as wear and tear, injury, and arthritis can threaten the health of joints for many, and the knee joint is among the most susceptible.

The Role of the Meniscus

The knee actually has not one, but two menisci, and both play integral roles in knee health. These wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage sit on either side of the joint, providing cushion between the shin and thighbones. When healthy, this cushion helps the knee to move painlessly. However, a torn meniscus can result in symptoms such as pain and instability in the joint, limiting a patient's capability for physical activity.

Types of Meniscus Tears

A torn meniscus can be acute or degenerative in nature. Acute tears generally occur due to outside force which causes the knee to bend or twist in an unnatural way. These types of tears occur in roughly 61 out of every 100,000 people. Degenerative tears, however, occur over time as the meniscus weakens and breaks down. These are most common in older adults, with about 60 percent of individuals over the age of 65 having some degree of meniscus tear.

Additionally, the specific type of meniscus tear can be further specified, based on its location (anterior horn, posterior horn, or body) and pattern. Recognized patterns of meniscus tears include:

  • Bucket-handle
  • Displaced bucket-handle
  • Radial
  • Horizontal
  • Longitudinal
  • Parrot beak
  • Displaced flap

In some instances, more than one pattern may be observed. These are known as complex tears.

Treating Meniscus Tears in Baton Rouge

When it comes to a torn meniscus, there are several potential treatment options. Factors such as the location, tear pattern, and severity of the tear will all need to be considered. As a patient, the best decision you can make is to select an orthopedic physician who is experienced and highly-skilled in the treatment of these types of injuries. The Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge is home to many such physicians. To learn more about our doctors or to request an appointment, please click below.