American Medical Society for Sports Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

Released April 5, 2014

Avoid recommending knee arthroscopy as initial/management for patients with degenerative meniscal tears and no mechanical symptoms.

Degenerative meniscal tears may respond to non-operative treatments such as exercise to improve muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. Other treatment options include mild analgesics, anti-inflammatory medication, activity modification or corticosteroid injection. If mechanical symptoms such as locking, painful clicking or recurrent swelling are present, or if pain relief is not obtained after a trial of non-operative treatment, arthroscopy may be warranted. If significant osteoarthritis is also present, other surgical options should be considered.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) has identified this list of clinical recommendations for the Choosing Wisely® campaign. The goal was to identify common topics in the practice of sports medicine that, supported by a review of the literature, would lead to significant health benefits and a reduction of common procedures that can be unnecessary or cause harm. For each item, evidence was reviewed from peer-reviewed literature and several sports medicine consensus statements. The list was initially generated and drafted by AMSSM’s Quality Measures Subcommittee. It was then edited and approved by AMSSM’s Practice and Policy Committee and the Board of Directors.

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.amssm.org.

Sources

Yim JH, Seon JK, Song EK, Choi JI, Kim MC, Lee KB, Seo HY. A comparative study of meniscectomy and nonoperative treatment for degenerative horizontal tears of the medial meniscus. Am J Sports Med. 2013 Jul;41(7):1565–70.

Herrlin S, Hållander M, Wange P, Weidenhielm L, Werner S. Arthroscopic or conservative treatment of degenerative medial meniscal tears: a prospective randomized trial. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2007 Apr;15(4):393–401.

Herrlin S, Wange PO, Lapidus G, Hållander M, Werner S, Weidenhielm L. Is arthroscopic surgery beneficial in treating non-traumatic, degenerative medial meniscal tears? A five year follow-up. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2013 Feb;21(2):358–64.