Sports Medicine: Discoid Meniscus
What is a discoid meniscus?
A normal meniscus is a c-shaped wedge of cartilage that cushions and supports the knee joint. A discoid meniscus is shaped more like a disc and does not taper as much toward the middle of the joint.
What causes a discoid meniscus?
A discoid meniscus is a genetic abnormality. Most people with a discoid meniscus are unaware they have it and don’t have any symptoms.
What are the symptoms of a discoid meniscus?
In some athletes a discoid meniscus can cause pain and limit activity. Athletes with a discoid meniscus may experience a “popping” sensation, knee pain, or the may be unable to fully straighten the knee.
How is a discoid meniscus diagnosed?
A thorough medical history and physical exam can assist a trained physician in diagnosing a discoid meniscus. If a physician suspects a discoid meniscus, they will likely order an MRI to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the severity of the case.
What is the treatment for a discoid meniscus?
If it is determined that the discoid meniscus is not the cause of the discomfort, the discoid meniscus will be left alone and the cause of the injury will be treated. However, if the root of the injury is the discoid meniscus itself, surgery may be required to alleviate the pain and to allow the athlete to fully straighten their knee. The surgeon will shave down the discoid meniscus in order to give it a more normal shape.
What is the long term outlook of a discoid meniscus?
It is important for the athlete to strictly adhere to the treatment plan set forth by the physician. After healing, it is typical to have a full return to activity, though a risk of recurrence is possible. The athlete will need to continue to work on strengthening and technique in order to limit the possibility of further injury to the meniscus.