Mending meniscals in children, improving diagnosis and recovery

November 2, 2009,

The meniscus is a rubber-like, crescent moon-shaped cartilage cushion that sits between the leg and thigh bone. Each knee has two menisci: one on the inside of the knee joint and one on the outside. In recent years, more children have been diagnosed with tears to this area (meniscal tears); however, according to a literature review published in the November 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), prospects for a full recovery are high.

"Seventy-five to 90 percent of children who have meniscal tears heal successfully when they are treated appropriately. In adults, the success rate is often less than 50 percent," said study co-author Dennis Kramer, M.D., an attending orthopaedic surgeon at Children's Hospital Boston and instructor in Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. "A child's physiology is different than an adult's—they are growing and therefore have a greater to the meniscus. This helps in the healing process."

How Meniscal Tears Occur

Meniscal tears often occur when a child twists his or her knee while playing sports (the area becomes painful and swollen and tears are sometimes dismissed as knee sprains). Children can continue to experience pain, but often do not seek help because they do not want to miss out on sporting events or have to go to the doctor.

Additionally, a small percentage of children are born with abnormally shaped "discoid" menisci that are larger and therefore more prone to tearing. If your child complains of a "snapping" or "popping" knee, it may be due to a discoid meniscus.

According to the study, several factors are contributing to the increase in diagnosis of meniscal tears in children:

  • more children are participating in sports, where knee injuries often occur;
  • more healthcare professionals are aware of and recognize the signs of meniscal tears; and
  • the use of (MRI) helps physicians to better diagnose them.
Early Treatment Important for Long-Term Health

Dr. Kramer stresses that although meniscal tears in can often be repaired successfully, they should be treated quickly.

"Tears that are repaired within three months seem to heal better than those treated at a later time," he said. "Additionally, if a child has a meniscal tear that cannot be repaired but instead has to be removed, studies indicate that it can lead to arthritis later in life."

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.