Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.


Meniscus Injuries Follow-up

  • Author: Bradley S Baker, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
Updated: Jul 25, 2016

Return to Play

Return to play after a meniscus injury is expected. The timing varies and depends on the injury, treatment, and rehabilitation protocol. In many cases, athletes can return to their sport as soon as 2-3 weeks status post arthroscopic partial meniscectomy or 6-8 weeks status post meniscal repair.



Complications are discussed under Recovery Phase, Medical Issues/Complications. In the long term, meniscal repairs fail to heal in 5-10% of patients. Failure rates are lower when the tears are repaired in patients with concomitant ACL reconstruction.

In patients with untreated tears, enlargement of the tear and arthrosis are common. In patients who are status post partial meniscectomy, arthrosis is also a concern. However, arthroscopists are hopeful that long-term outcome studies will demonstrate that a partial meniscectomy can delay or prevent the degenerative changes noted by Fairbanks in patients who had open total meniscectomy.[3]



Prevention of recurrent problems is accomplished best by reestablishing and maintaining knee fitness with strength, flexibility, and proprioception.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Bradley S Baker, MD Clinical Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Orthopedic Sports Medicine, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota; Orthopedic Consultant/Team Physician, Sanford Sports Medicine

Bradley S Baker, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Sports Medicine, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Mid-America Orthopaedic Association, Arthroscopy Association of North America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


James H Lubowitz, MD Director, Taos Orthopaedic Institute, Taos Orthopaedic Institute Research Foundation (TOIRF), and Taos Orthopaedic Institute Sports Medicine Fellowship Training Program; Clinical Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of New Mexico School of Medicine

James H Lubowitz, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Arthroscopy Association of North America

Disclosure: Received consulting fee from Arthrex for consulting; Received salary from AANA for employment; Received royalty from Arthrex for other.

Bryce T Wolf, MD Sports Medicine Fellow, Taos Orthopedic Institute

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Henry T Goitz, MD Academic Chair and Associate Director, Detroit Medical Center Sports Medicine Institute; Director, Education, Research, and Injury Prevention Center; Co-Director, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship

Henry T Goitz, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Craig C Young, MD Professor, Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Community and Family Medicine, Medical Director of Sports Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin

Craig C Young, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Leslie Milne, MD Assistant Clinical Instructor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Harvard University School of Medicine

Leslie Milne, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Sports Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

  1. Costa CR, Morrison WB, Carrino JA. Medial meniscus extrusion on knee MRI: is extent associated with severity of degeneration or type of tear?. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004 Jul. 183(1):17-23. [Medline].

  2. Bland-Sutton J. Ligaments: Their Nature and Morphology. 2nd ed. London, UK: HK Lewis; 1887.

  3. Fairbanks TJ. Knee joint changes after meniscectomy. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1948. 30:664-70. [Full Text].

  4. Bin SI, Kim JM, Shin SJ. Radial tears of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus. Arthroscopy. 2004 Apr. 20(4):373-8. [Medline].

  5. Arendt EA, ed. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update: Sports Medicine 2. Rosemont, Ill: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 1999.

  6. Insall JN, Scott WN, eds. Surgery of the Knee. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co; 2001.

  7. Rodkey WG. Basic biology of the meniscus and response to injury. Instr Course Lect. 2000. 49:189-93. [Medline].

  8. Fu FH, Harner CD, Vince KG, eds. Knee Surgery. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1994.

  9. Arnoczky SP, Warren RF. The microvasculature of the meniscus and its response to injury. An experimental study in the dog. Am J Sports Med. 1983 May-Jun. 11(3):131-41. [Medline].

  10. Arnoczky SP, Warren RF. Microvasculature of the human meniscus. Am J Sports Med. 1982 Mar-Apr. 10(2):90-5. [Medline].

  11. Vaziri A, Nayeb-Hashemi H, Singh A, Tafti BA. Influence of meniscectomy and meniscus replacement on the stress distribution in human knee joint. Ann Biomed Eng. 2008 May 22. epub ahead of print. [Medline].

  12. Lee JH, Lim YJ, Kim KB, Kim KH, Song JH. Arthroscopic pullout suture repair of posterior root tear of the medial meniscus: radiographic and clinical results with a 2-year follow-up. Arthroscopy. 2009 Sep. 25(9):951-8. [Medline].

  13. Eren OT. The accuracy of joint line tenderness by physical examination in the diagnosis of meniscal tears. Arthroscopy. 2003 Oct. 19(8):850-4. [Medline].

  14. Behairy NH, Dorgham MA, Khaled SA. Accuracy of routine magnetic resonance imaging in meniscal and ligamentous injuries of the knee: comparison with arthroscopy. Int Orthop. 2008 May 28. epub ahead of print. [Medline].

  15. Nikolaou VS, Chronopoulos E, Savvidou C, et al. MRI efficacy in diagnosing internal lesions of the knee: a retrospective analysis. J Trauma Manag Outcomes. 2008 Jun 2. 2(1):4. [Medline].

  16. Lerer DB, Umans HR, Hu MX, Jones MH. The role of meniscal root pathology and radial meniscal tear in medial meniscal extrusion. Skeletal Radiol. 2004 Oct. 33(10):569-74. [Medline].

  17. Spindler KP, McCarty EC, Warren TA, Devin C, Connor JT. Prospective comparison of arthroscopic medial meniscal repair technique: inside-out suture versus entirely arthroscopic arrows. Am J Sports Med. 2003 Nov-Dec. 31(6):929-34. [Medline].

  18. Bin SI, Kim JM, Shin SJ. Radial tears of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus. Arthroscopy. 2004 Apr. 20(4):373-8. [Medline].

  19. Shelbourne KD, Heinrich J. The long-term evaluation of lateral meniscus tears left in situ at the time of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Arthroscopy. 2004 Apr. 20(4):346-51. [Medline].

  20. Nicholas SJ, Golant A, Schachter AK, Lee SJ. A new surgical technique for arthroscopic repair of the meniscus root tear. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2009 Dec. 17(12):1433-6. [Medline].

  21. Logan M, Watts M, Owen J, Myers P. Meniscal repair in the elite athlete: results of 45 repairs with a minimum 5-year follow-up. Am J Sports Med. 2009 Jun. 37(6):1131-4. [Medline].

  22. Kim SB, Ha JK, Lee SW, Kim DW, Shim JC, Kim JG, et al. Medial meniscus root tear refixation: comparison of clinical, radiologic, and arthroscopic findings with medial meniscectomy. Arthroscopy. 2011 Mar. 27(3):346-54. [Medline].

  23. Adachi N, Ochi M, Uchio Y, Kuriwaka M, Shinomiya R. Torn discoid lateral meniscus treated using partial central meniscectomy and suture of the peripheral tear. Arthroscopy. 2004 May. 20(5):536-42. [Medline].

  24. Kelly JD 4th, Ebrahimpour P. Chondral injury and synovitis after arthroscopic meniscal repair using an outside-in mulberry knot suture technique. Arthroscopy. 2004 May. 20(5):e49-52. [Medline].

  25. Barber FA, Harding NR. Meniscal repair rehabilitation. Instr Course Lect. 2000. 49:207-10. [Medline].

  26. Lozano J, Ma CB, Cannon WD. All-inside meniscus repair: a systematic review. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2007 Feb. 455:134-41. [Medline].

  27. Grant JA, Wilde J, Miller BS, Bedi A. Comparison of inside-out and all-inside techniques for the repair of isolated meniscal tears: a systematic review. Am J Sports Med. 2012 Feb. 40(2):459-68. [Medline].

  28. Nepple JJ, Dunn WR, Wright RW. Meniscal repair outcomes at greater than five years: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2012 Dec 19. 94(24):2222-7. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  29. Allaire R, Muriuki M, Gilbertson L, Harner CD. Biomechanical consequences of a tear of the posterior root of the medial meniscus. Similar to total meniscectomy. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008 Sep. 90(9):1922-31. [Medline].

  30. LaPrade CM, Jansson KS, Dornan G, Smith SD, Wijdicks CA, LaPrade RF. Altered tibiofemoral contact mechanics due to lateral meniscus posterior horn root avulsions and radial tears can be restored with in situ pull-out suture repairs. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2014 Mar 19. 96(6):471-9. [Medline].

  31. Marzo JM, Kumar BA. Primary repair of medial meniscal avulsions: 2 case studies. Am J Sports Med. 2007 Aug. 35(8):1380-3. [Medline].

  32. Kim YM, Rhee KJ, Lee JK, Hwang DS, Yang JY, Kim SJ. Arthroscopic pullout repair of a complete radial tear of the tibial attachment site of the medial meniscus posterior horn. Arthroscopy. 2006 Jul. 22(7):795.e1-4. [Medline].

  33. West RV, Kim JG, Armfield D, Harner CD. Lateral meniscal root tears associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury: classification and management (SS-70). Arthroscopy. 2004. 20:e32-e33.

  34. Ahn JH, Wang JH, Lim HC, et al. Double transosseous pull out suture technique for transection of posterior horn of medial meniscus. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2009 Mar. 129(3):387-92. [Medline].

  35. Kim JH, Shin DE, Dan JM, Nam KS, Ahn TK, Lee DH. Arthroscopic suture anchor repair of posterior root attachment injury in medial meniscus: technical note. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2009 Aug. 129(8):1085-8. [Medline].

  36. Kim SB, Ha JK, Lee SW, et al. Medial meniscus root tear refixation: comparison of clinical, radiologic, and arthroscopic findings with medial meniscectomy. Arthroscopy. 2011 Mar. 27(3):346-54. [Medline].

  37. Kim JH, Chung JH, Lee DH, Lee YS, Kim JR, Ryu KJ. Arthroscopic suture anchor repair versus pullout suture repair in posterior root tear of the medial meniscus: a prospective comparison study. Arthroscopy. 2011 Dec. 27(12):1644-53. [Medline].

  38. Ahn JH, Lee YS, Yoo JC, Chang MJ, Park SJ, Pae YR. Results of arthroscopic all-inside repair for lateral meniscus root tear in patients undergoing concomitant anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Arthroscopy. 2010 Jan. 26(1):67-75. [Medline].

  39. Khan M, Evaniew N, Bedi A, Ayeni OR, Bhandari M. Arthroscopic surgery for degenerative tears of the meniscus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. CMAJ. 2014 Oct 7. 186 (14):1057-64. [Medline].

  40. Kise NJ, Risberg MA, Stensrud S, Ranstam J, Engebretsen L, Roos EM. Exercise therapy versus arthroscopic partial meniscectomy for degenerative meniscal tear in middle aged patients: randomised controlled trial with two year follow-up. BMJ. 2016 Jul 20. 354:i3740. [Medline].

  41. Frellick M. Exercise as Effective as Surgery for Meniscal Tears. Medscape Medical News. Available at July 21, 2016; Accessed: July 25, 2016.

  42. Hart ES, Kalra KP, Grottkau BE, Albright M, Shannon EG. Discoid lateral meniscus in children. Orthop Nurs. 2008 May/June. 27(3):174-9. [Medline].

  43. Choi NH, Kim TH, Victoroff BN. Comparison of arthroscopic medial meniscal suture repair techniques: inside-out versus all-inside repair. Am J Sports Med. 2009 Nov. 37(11):2144-50. [Medline].

  44. Cox CL, Deangelis JP, Magnussen RA, Fitch RW, Spindler KP. Meniscal tears in athletes. J Surg Orthop Adv. 2009 Spring. 18(1):2-8. [Medline].

  45. Ding J, Zhao J, He Y, Huangfu X, Zeng B. Risk factors for articular cartilage lesions in symptomatic discoid lateral meniscus. Arthroscopy. 2009 Dec. 25(12):1423-6. [Medline].

  46. Freedman KB, Nho SJ, Cole BJ. Marrow stimulating technique to augment meniscus repair. Arthroscopy. 2003 Sep. 19(7):794-8. [Medline].

  47. Iwamoto J, Takeda T, Sato Y, Matsumoto H. Retrospective case evaluation of gender differences in sports injuries in a Japanese sports medicine clinic. Gend Med. 2008 Dec. 5(4):405-14. [Medline].

  48. Jerosch J, Riemer S. [How good are clinical investigative procedures for diagnosing meniscus lesions?] [German]. Sportverletz Sportschaden. 2004 Jun. 18(2):59-67. [Medline].

  49. Kisiday JD, Vanderploeg EJ, McIlwraith CW, Grodzinsky AJ, Frisbie DD. Mechanical injury of explants from the articulating surface of the inner meniscus. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2009 Nov 24. epub ahead of print. [Medline].

  50. Lowry F. Real knee surgery no better than sham for meniscal tear. Medscape Medical News. December 27, 2013. Available at Accessed: January 7, 2014.

  51. Metcalf MH, Barrett GR. Prospective evaluation of 1485 meniscal tear patterns in patients with stable knees. Am J Sports Med. 2004 Apr-May. 32(3):675-80. [Medline].

  52. Oei EH, Koster IM, Hensen JH, et al. MRI follow-up of conservatively treated meniscal knee lesions in general practice. Eur Radiol. 2009 Nov 17. epub ahead of print. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  53. Pearse EO, Craig DM. Partial meniscectomy in the presence of severe osteoarthritis does not hasten the symptomatic progression of osteoarthritis. Arthroscopy. 2003 Nov. 19(9):963-8. [Medline].

  54. Sihvonen R, Paavola M, Malmivaara A, Itälä A, Joukainen A, Nurmi H, et al. Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy versus sham surgery for a degenerative meniscal tear. N Engl J Med. 2013 Dec 26. 369(26):2515-24. [Medline].

  55. Uysal M, Akpinar S, Bolat F, et al. Apoptosis in the traumatic and degenerative tears of human meniscus. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2008 Apr 30. epub ahead of print. [Medline].

Magnetic resonance imaging scan showing a normal meniscus.
Magnetic resonance imaging scan showing a torn medial meniscus.
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.