Meniscal injuries are common in competitive athletes and are routinely evaluated by MRI. Most authors have reported a predominance of medial meniscal injuries. We report the distribution of medial and lateral meniscal tears in elite football players.
METHOD AND MATERIALS
All candidates for the 2005 professional football draft were screened by injury summaries from their football program, onsite history and physical exam, and when indicated with plain radiographs and MRI. All knee MRI examinations were reviewed for the presence of meniscal tears using standard criteria by MRI, most commonly linear signal on more than one image contacting an articular surface. Minor free edge abnormalities and internal meniscal signal were excluded. Medial and lateral location of meniscal tears and the position of players were recorded.
40 meniscal tears were found meeting MRI criteria. 28 were lateral and 12 were medial. Of these, 10 lateral and 4 medial meniscal tears were found in the setting of ACL tears. 2 candidates had both medial and lateral meniscal tears in the setting of ACL tear. 18 lateral and 8 medial tears were isolated injuries. Linemen and defensive secondary players had the highest number of lateral meniscal tears.
In elite football players, lateral meniscal tears were more frequently found both in association with ACL tears and as isolated injuries.