Mechanical symptoms and meniscal tear: a reappraisal

Review written by Todd Hargrove info

Key Points

  1. Mechanical symptoms have only moderate sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing a torn meniscus.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Mechanical knee symptoms are commonly defined as the presence of clicking, catching, or locking in the knee (1). It is commonly assumed that when a patient has knee pain with mechanical symptoms, it is highly likely that the patient has a torn meniscus. It is also thought that the presence of mechanical symptoms predicts better outcomes for arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM).

This study sought to analyze the evidence in support of each assumption by summarizing research on associations between mechanical symptoms, meniscal tear, and post-operative outcomes for APM.

It is commonly assumed that when a patient has knee pain with mechanical symptoms, it is highly likely that the patient has a torn meniscus.
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Evidence has been emerging for some time calling these assumptions into question, yet they are still made with confidence.

METHODS

The authors analyzed the findings in 38 relevant articles that looked for associations between mechanical symptoms, meniscal tears, and surgical outcomes for APM. Studies assessing correlations between mechanical symptoms and meniscal tears used MRI and arthroscopy to validate the presence

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