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Q. I have meniscus tear in both knees with occasional knee lock. Do I need an arthroscopic surgery?

Answered by
Dr. Rameshkumar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 26, 2020

Hello doctor,

Can you help me out to reach a result to go for an arthroscopic surgery or not? Actually, both of my knees have a medial meniscus tear, and the MRI reports show that it is a grade 3 tear posterior horn. Both injuries are 2.5 and 1.5 years old separately occurred during running. Now I can walk and run normally. I do not have any pain, but the knee gets lock which can be relaxed by bending my knee up to the hips. As of now, I have consulted many ortho surgeons, and all have suggested removal of the torn part, otherwise it will lead to prearthiritis. What will you recommend? Should I go for surgery or leave as it is with knee strengthening exercises?



Welcome to

It depends on the age and the activities you do. I can understand that the problem is there for two years. If you do not run and do not participate in sports, you can strengthen the knee and do some mobilization exercises, and prolong without surgery. But according to your MRI and duration, surgery may be required. If not, it may lead to arthritis because the meniscus will brush on your knee cartilage and damage it, leading to arthritis.

To summarize, if you want to be active in sports, better go in for surgery or else if not, you can prolong if you are not participating in sports

Thank you doctor,

Now I do not have any plans to get back to sports. But I am worried about the future regarding arthritis. I think that removing the torn meniscus will lead to arthritis more earlier. Because if I am walking erect now that means the meniscus is in its position, and there will be no friction between the femur and tibia. But in case of locking, the meniscus is displaced from its position that will provide partial friction. So as of now, I am not having any severe problem apart from occasional locking. Can this locking be harmful to my future? Please describe the role of meniscectomy surgery (removing torn meniscus) in preventing or promoting arthritis.



Welcome back to

What is your age? Torn meniscus will cause more damage and the meniscus which is normal is present in the edges not only between the femur and tibia completely. If it occasionally gets locked you need not worry.

You may require surgery if there is more pain while bending your knees, your regular activities are affected, and if the locking is severe and more frequent.

If you have no much problem you may wait for some time. If you are of young age then you may take up the surgery then chance of arthritis will be low. Moreover, if the tear is small need not think of surgery but the size mentioned by you will create arthritis in the future.

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