RheumatologyNetwork Presents New Findings on Diagnosing Torn Meniscus of the Knee

Dec 03, 2013, 12:27 ET from UBM Medica US

NORWALK, Conn., Dec. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- UBM Medica US announces that RheumatologyNetwork, the leading online community for rheumatologists, now features information contradicting a time-honored principle in diagnosing torn meniscus of the knee, a condition common to normally aging people.

Doctors have long been taught that clicking, popping, and cracking sounds, or buckling or locking of the knee are sure signs of a damaging tear in the meniscus, the lining of the knee joint. But new research suggests that, among people over age 45 (and especially in the absence of any injury), these sounds and sensations do not indicate either the presence or severity of a meniscal tear, or bear any relation to the likelihood that a meniscal tear will improve after surgery or physical therapy.

It's "a real departure from all that we've learned from younger people with traumatic tears," says Dr. Jeffrey Katz, a rheumatologist at Boston's Brigham & Womens Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard University. "It turns out that it's a different disease in middle-aged and older people, so we have to kind of rethink our rules of thumb about diagnosis and prognosis."

He describes the research in detail in the video "Physical Signs of Meniscal Tear: Red Herrings in All But the Young, recorded during the recent American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in San Diego. The video also includes hints about signs that are meaningful among people over 45 who have knee pain.

Some of the data in the study are taken from the recent METEOR trial, a randomized controlled study that showed that arthroscopic surgery does not provide clearly superior results compared to physical therapy for tears in the meniscus. Dr. Katz was one of the principal investigators for that study.

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