Ah, knee pain – the scourge of the middle aged and the weekend warrior, and also the large number of people in our area who are engaged in sports (like hockey) or occupations that are physically demanding.
According to the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine, degenerate meniscal tears and osteoarthritis (OA) are extremely common in the general population. Early degenerative changes in the meniscus can be found in many subjects under the age of 30. By 50 to 60 years of age, full degenerative meniscal tears are commonly found in 33-50% of subjects.
Keep reading to see what the Academy advises with respect to appropriate investigations of suspected meniscal tears and osteoarthritis:
"Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is not recommended for degenerative meniscal tears unless there are mechanical symptoms (e.g., locking) or lack of improvement with conservative treatment (exercise/therapy, weight loss, bracing, topical or oral analgesia, intra-articular injections). MRI is not recommended for the diagnosis or management of OA. Weight-bearing X-rays should be ordered instead.
If knee replacement is becoming a consideration, referral to the Regional Joint Assessment Centre requires standing AP, lateral and skyline views of the knee." Visit our Quick Links section for more recommendations regarding sport and exercise medicine.
Next week, we'll have a discussion of treatment of this frustrating and potentially debilitating knee condition.