How common is a meniscus tear?

A meniscus tear is a common knee joint injury. More than one-third of meniscus tears are sports-related, often when the knee is twisted while the knee is partially flexed and the foot is firmly planted on the ground. Men are twice as likely to have a meniscus tear than women.1 Meniscus tears also are common with normal movement in people older than age 40 whose menisci are worn down.2

More than one-third of meniscus tears occur along with tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).1


  1. Smith BW (2002). The acutely injured knee. In JC Puffer, BD Weiss, eds., 20 Common Problems in Sports Medicine, pp. 173–199. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Urquhart MW, et al. (2003). Meniscal injuries. In JC DeLee et al., eds., DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice, 2nd ed., vol. 2, pp. 1668–1696. Philadelphia: Saunders.

Last Updated: September 22, 2008

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