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Degenerative meniscus tears should be looked upon as wrinkles with age—and should be treated accordingly
  1. May Arna Risberg
  1. Correspondence to Professor May Arna Risberg, Department of Sport Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, PB 4014 Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo 0806, Norway; m.a.risberg{at}

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We know that menisci play an important role in the knee. They contribute significantly to load bearing, load transmission and shock absorption across the joint and should, therefore, be preserved whenever possible. Furthermore, we have known for many years that meniscectomised knees develop osteoarthritis. We are also learning that not all meniscus injuries are the same. Acute tears, often occurring in adolescence and early adulthood, should be treated differently to degenerative tears in middle-aged patients. In fact, evidence suggests that, in the latter case, meniscus lesions are often merely an early sign of cartilage degeneration and osteoarthritis development.1

We have had a long history of treating meniscus tears with surgery without really having had any evidence if that was the best alternative treatment. …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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