What Makes a Meniscus Tear Bad?

By Steve Mora MD

Orange County Knee Specialist

Not all meniscus tears require surgery. The ones that do are those that are displaced and are causing painful catching and locking. •

In this particular case the patient presented with sharp stabbing pain that came on abruptly after playing soccer. The pain persisted. X-rays were normal. •

Here is the key: The MRI revealed “displaced” meniscus tear with torn “flaps”. After I looked at the MRI images I did not wait too long to recommend surgery. Even though we did not wait too long the damage in the joint had already started.

In a healthy knee, large meniscus tear flaps will erode the cartilage surface adjacent to the tear. If it’s severe, the damaged cartilage becomes the bigger problem in the future. •


-If your tear is causing locking or catching. That’s bad. –

If your MRI shows displaced meniscus fragments. That’s bad. –

-if your knee was perfect, X-rays show no arthritis, you’re relatively young, and you have this specific type of tear on MRI you might want to see an orthopedic surgeon sooner than later. –

-Lastly make sure that whoever ordered the MRI looked at the images and not just the report. If they didn’t they might be missing a bad tear.

▶️ And just to be clear this is a particular situation that requires patient specific treatment. There is information on-line posted by various types of doctors who will say that meniscus tears don’t need surgery. And on the other end of the spectrum there are surgeons who operated on everything. I’m posting this example to show that not all tears are created equally. Cheers. 🙂 ____________________________________________

▶️ Dr. Mora is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Restore Orthopedics and Spine Center in Orange County.

He specializes in:

-Sports Trauma -Arthroscopy of the knee, shoulder, hip and elbow.

-Arthritis of the Knee

-Mixed Martial Arts Injuries

-First Responder Injuries

-Regenerative Medicine:Lipogems, Bone Marrow Stem Cells, Plasma therapy.

For a consultation please call Restore Orthopedics and Spine Center in the City of Orange 714-332-5498 www.MyOrthoDoc.com.