Meniscus Tear

Question on a patient with a meniscus tear.

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Scenario: A 40-year man was out playing in the backyard with his son and twisted his knee when he was running and stepped on a sprinkler head. The patient stated he heard a pop and had difficulty moving the knee. He states it was not very painful but feels like the knee is locked. With traction the therapist was able to regain full range of motion. There is a positive McMurray test and Apley Grind Test.The patient was referred to a physician who ordered an MRI. The patient has a bucket handle tear and underwent arthroscopic surgery.

Question: What are the classifications of meniscal tears and which classification does this patient fall under?

A. Longitudinal, horizontal, radial, flap, degenerative. Longitudinal tear.

B. Horizontal, crescent, vertical, oblique, flap. Flap tear.

C. Radial, degenerative, vascular, vertical, peripheral. Vertical tear.

D. Flap, crescent, radial, peripheral, horizontal. Crescent tear.

Answer with rationale: A. Longitudinal, horizontal, radial, flap, degenerative. Longitudinal tear. This patient has a longitudinal tear, recognized by the common descriptor mentioned in the diagnosis: bucket handle tear.

For more information see Chapter 197: Meniscus Tear in The Color Atlas of Physical Therapy

Eric Shamus, DPT, PhD

Professor, Chair of Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast University