Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsports-2012-091540
  • Original article

Knee function and knee muscle strength in middle-aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears eligible for arthroscopic partial meniscectomy

  1. Ewa M Roos1
  1. 1Research Unit for Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy, Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Sport Medicine, Norwegian Research Center for Active Rehabilitation, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Silje Stensrud, NIMI, pb. 3843 Ullevål Stadion, Oslo 0855, Norway; silje.stensrud{at}
  • Received 2 July 2012
  • Revised 19 November 2012
  • Accepted 21 November 2012
  • Published Online First 14 December 2012


Background Functional limitations exist postmeniscectomy, but preoperative data are scarce.

Purpose To examine knee function, knee muscle strength and performance in middle-aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears, eligible for arthroscopic partial meniscectomy.

Study design Cross-sectional study.

Methods Eighty-two participants with MRI verified degenerative meniscal tear (35% women, mean age 49 years) answered the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and were tested for isokinetic knee muscle strength and lower extremity performance (one-leg hop for distance, 6 m timed hop and maximum number of knee-bends in 30 s). Limb Symmetry Index (LSI) was used to express side-to-side differences in per cent using the non-injured leg as the control. An LSI ≥90% was considered normal.

Results Mean scores of the five subscales of the KOOS were from 13 to 36 points lower compared with a population-based reference group and similar to patients prior to anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Quadriceps strength and lower-extremity performance were impaired for the injured leg compared with the non-injured leg (p<0.001), with a mean difference of 13% in quadriceps strength and between 8% and 13% in lower-extremity performance. Between 41% and 52% of the participants had abnormal LSI values in quadriceps muscle strength and lower-extremity performance.

Conclusion Middle-aged patients with a symptomatic degenerative meniscal tear experience functional knee problems when eligible for meniscectomy. Included participants reported difficulty with knee pain, symptoms, function and quality of life and quadriceps strength and lower-extremity performance were impaired. Approximately 50% of the study group had clinically relevant impairments in quadriceps strength and lower-extremity performance, defined as >10% differences between the injured and the non-injured leg.

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