Meniscus Tears

A meniscus tear is a common knee injury. The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped disk that acts as a “shock absorber” between the thighbone and shinbone. It helps cushion and stabilize the knee joint. Each knee has two menisci—one on the outside of the knee and one on the inside.

A meniscus tear is often caused by a single acute injury—such as a sudden twist or quick turn during sports activity. Because the menisci weaken and wear thin over time, older people are more likely to experience a degenerative meniscus tear.

In many cases, a surgical procedure called “arthroscopy” is used to repair or remove a torn meniscus.

This video provides information about the causes and symptoms of meniscus tears, surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, and what to expect during recovery.

This video © American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Many of the images included are courtesy of Thinkstock © 2015.


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New Best Practices for Team Physicians Published

Consensus on injury and illness prevention aids physicians and athletes

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and five other professional organizations released a new team physician consensus statement today that outlines best practices for injury and illness prevention for athletes of all levels. This statement is the newest paper in a series published since 2000 that addresses pertinent topics such as return-to-play decisions, concussion treatment, injury and illness prevention, sideline preparedness, psychological issues and other important topics. The team physician consensus statements serve as a reliable resource for team physicians and other medical professionals treating athletes, and can provide peace of mind for coaches, athletes, parents of youth athletes and the general public.

The new consensus statement, titled “Selected Issues in Injury and Illness Prevention and the Team Physician,” updates a statement originally published in 2007. The new document provides recommendations regarding musculoskeletal injuries, head and neck injuries, heat illness, cardiovascular issues, equipment and injury reduction/modification and skin infections. Key recommendations in the paper include the importance of up-to-date treatment information for athletes, the role of sport-specific prevention programs and cautions regarding equipment safety. An infographic is available that summarizes the paper’s recommendations.

“This paper offers guidelines for practice in the areas of injury and illness most commonly seen by team physicians,” said Stanley A. Herring, M.D., FACSM, chair of the project-based alliance and clinical professor in the Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine, Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, and Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. “It provides a roadmap of common issues facing medical professionals on the sidelines and in their offices.”

Collaborating with ACSM to produce the team physician consensus statements are the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine.

“The combination of education, training and experience, together with the ongoing relationship with their team, allows the team physician to offer a unique level of medical care to athletes under their supervision,” said James R. Whitehead, executive vice president/CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine. “Experts from six sports medicine associations came together to produce these guidelines for team doctors, athletic trainers and other dedicated professionals to help athletes play safe and perform their best every day.”

The team physician consensus statement is jointly published in the January 2016 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® and the January/February 2016 issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports. All team physician consensus statement documents can be found here.

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Exchanging physical activity for sitting time associated with lower risk of death for less-active older adults

In this study, investigators measured the amount of time older adults spent sitting and in different physical activities. They next used statistical models to estimate risk of death associated with replacing one hour of sitting time with an equal amount of physical activity. The investigators found that for less active older adults, replacing sitting time with exercise or other activities, like household chores or walking, resulted in lower risk of death. In contrast, highly active older adults had to replace an hour of sitting with purposeful exercise to reduce risk of death. Although the researchers cautioned that their results were from statistical models, not from actual changes in behavior, replacing sitting time with physical activity appears to provide important mortality benefits, particularly for less-active adults.

View this study’s abstract

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Time on the treadmill may counteract clinical symptoms of Alzheimer disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It interferes with daily life through declines in thought processes, such as learning deficit and memory loss. Although cross-sectional studies have consistently found a link between physical exercise and cognitive performance, a cause-and-effect relationship has yet to be established. In this study, the researchers found that running on a treadmill can reverse those cognitive declines that are due to Alzheimer’s disease, regardless of how severe those effects may be. Specifically, the mice in this study that had early or later stages of Alzheimer’s disease showed signs of improved cognitive performance (i.e., short- and long-term memory) after following a prescribed 12-week treadmill running program. There have been thousands of studies on how regular exercise affects cardiovascular health, but this study shows the importance of researching exercise’s impact on brain health as well.

View this study’s abstract

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