As any Knick fan recognizes…

Jeremy Lin has been diagnosed with “chronic small” meniscus tear.  

The press reports that surgery is pending (now over)… and Jeremy Lin feels hopeful for a full recovery.

What is the Meniscus:

Meniscus - Howard Luks - Westchecster County, NY
Normal appearance of a meniscus, the "C" shaped disc between the two bones.

The meniscus is a cushion that sits between the end of the femur (thigh bone ) and the top of the tibia (shin bone).  

This post goes into far more detail on the structure and function of a meniscus

What is a Meniscus Tear? 

Meniscus Tear- Howard Luks- Westchester County, NY
Meniscal tear with loose flap

A tear is simply that… the ring of cartilage we refer to as the meniscus tears.  Sometimes they are small,  and sometimes they are large.  

Why do Meniscus Tears hurt? 

The meniscus itself has no nerve fibers in it… so the pain you experience is usually from irritation of the surrounding structures in the knee.   

Do all Meniscus Tears Require Surgery.

Why is Jeremy Lin having surgery for a small chronic (old) tear? 

Great question … research into professional athletes shows that if we obtain MRIs on NORMAL functioning pitchers, over 90% have something “wrong” on the MRI that would have led to surgery if they presented to a physicians office with complaints of pain with pain…. that means that many of us, professionals too, have abnormalities on MRIs as a consequence of aging or perhaps an old injuryand they many NOT be the source of pain.

Now, I have not treated, talked to or examined Mr Lin, so I can not comment whether or not surgery is necessary for him.   Only he can be the judge of that!  

What I can tell you is that we have succesfully managed many many patients with meniscus tears, without surgery and they have returned to a very active lifestyle.    

The controversy continues…..   

Recommended Reading:

Meniscus Tears

Is surgery Necessary for Meniscus Tears 

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Disclaimer:  this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.

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About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

2 comments on “Meniscal Tears… Jeremy Lin versus the average Joe

  • Is it more likely for OA to happen if a meniscus tear is left in situ (if stable) than by doing a partial menisectomy ?

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