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.

13 comments on “What is The Cause of Meniscus Tears? Expert Series

  • My daughter has had two ACL surgeries. She is an avid basketball player (she plays year round). With this last ACL surgery she also had a meniscus tear repaired. Well, we just received the results from another MRI and she tore her meniscus. Her surgeon would like to remove and clean the meniscus out this time. As a mother of an athlete, what can we expect as far as recovery time? Keep in mind, her goal is to get at least a D2 basketball offer. She has had to sit out 2 seasons of her high school career because of ACL tears (she’s tore both knees). So, she has already signed up to play AAU (this spring) and then has been invited to 4 high exposure events. She will be entering her senior year, having played only one season of high school ball. Could you predict how long it will take for her to recover and be able to play AAU? She is 5’3 115 lbs. point guard. Thanks for your time!
    Lori Dennis

    • The improvement from cleaning out a tear should be very quickly realized… BUT … you do not want to leave your daughter without a significant portion of her meniscus. I would talk to your doctor about the options available if he/she does need to remove a piece of the meniscus. Meniscus transplants, etc are all on the table. They involve a longer recovery… but may prevent the development of osteoarthritis.

  • I have been diagnosed with a root tear in the medial meniscus but very little arthritis. I also have little pain. I am a devoted runner who runs safely, mostly on treadmills. I was looking forward to my first marathon. I’m worried that my running days are over. I am in my 50s and not overweight.
    Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Root tears are a unique type of tear. IF you search my site you will find a post specifically about root tears. Most medial root tears are associated with arthritis. IF they are then they are usually best treated without surgery. IF a root tear is present without arthritis then other options, including a root repair start to come into play. Root repairs are tricky … so be sure your doc is comfortable with them if surgery becomes an option.

  • Thank you for your thoughts. Any ideas about the prognosis for running (safely) in the future, whether or not surgery is the choice? I aporeciate your thoughts, and will not take them as gospel–simply want to be informed. I am seeing an orthopedic surgeon, and I believe their predilection is to cut.
    Thank you.

  • Hi doctor I m thank ful for this valid information which is mentioned in this article for the past 15 days I m suffering from meniscus tear(lateral tear and mild degeneration of ACL with is intact .I have consultant with orthopedic surgeon and he suggested me for physiotherapy for recovery and this is 15th day of physiotherapy pain is like fluctuating some time no pain and while walking I feel like instability in my knee
    so please suggest me what should I do whether I should continue with physiotherapy
    it will be great help if you help me in this regard
    thank you

  • I have degenerative arthritis. I have a partial meniscus tear L and a full tear R. My knees are frequently “locking” and “giving” out. I will go down if I do not catch myself. I am 62 years old. Should I have surgery? I supposedly have a good doctor (Boston). he is choosing not to do SX. I am left in constant pain. HELP!!!

    • THis is a difficult problem… Please check the last 4-5 posts on our Facbook Page. They are relevant to your issue.
      A lot of recent research shows that arthroscopy in the setting of meniscus tears and osteoarthritis is not often met with success. One recent paper shows that folks who have an arthroscopy– might be 3x more likely to need a knee replacement within a year or two.

      If the pain is unbearable your doc should understand that… perhaps an arthroscopy is not the right answer, but they should be able to walk you through the next steps.

  • Hey there. I recently injured my knee running. I went to an orthopedic urgent care, where they did an x-ray of my knee. During the x-ray they did not find anything unusual, so they sent me to physical therapy. The physical therapist thinks that, based on the issues I am experiencing, I have torn my meniscus. They have not bothered to do an MRI to determine if that is actually what happened yet, as they think physical therapy will fix it. I am on crutches, wearing a compression sleeve, and going to PT twice a week. This week is week 2 and I am feeling no improvement. I actually feel worse than before I went to the dr originally. How long should I do PT before I push for the MRI to determine the severity of the injury? I have a toddler at home and I can’t keep up with him, it is hard for me to pick him up and walk to the kitchen, and my work life is suffering as well. Going from sitting to standing is excruciating. I am in more pain now than when I gave birth. Please let me know if you have any advice!

    • It might be worth seeing an Orthopedic Sports Doc for a good examination. They will then determine if further imaging is needed to see what may be hurting you so much.

      Good luck !

  • I am 43 years old, and my MRI results show a complex tear involving the posterior horn and mid body of my medial meniscus. My orthopedic surgeon recommends arthroscopic surgery, but I am hesitant. The pain is dull when I walk and has lasted 12 weeks now. I had previous pain in my knees, but the recent pain is a result of a gym workout and hiking. I have read that physical therapy is as effective as surgery. I am impatient for my knee to heal, but I want to avoid surgery if at all possible. What are your thoughts?

    • I can only reiterate what the research demonstrates…. and you seem to know what that is :-)

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