Did you know that knee injuries are the second most common work-related accident?

More than 3 million Americans have knee injuries each year, and the meniscus is the most commonly injured part of the knee. In the US, 61 of out every 100,000 people have experienced a meniscal tear.

Knee meniscus disorders involve the medial meniscus or lateral meniscus, two semicircular pads of cartilage in the knee between the joint surfaces of the upper and lower leg bones. The most common meniscus disorder is a tear.

In young people, meniscal tears are usually caused by trauma involving a twisting or pivoting of the knee. In older people, there may be a gradual degeneration of the meniscus with no single causative event. As older people develop osteoarthritis of the knee, the menisci develop degenerative changes as well, and these can look like tears on imaging studies.

Individuals who have a previous knee injury, an abnormally shaped (discoid) meniscus, or tight, weak muscles, or who walk on the insides of the feet (pronation) are at risk for knee injuries.

Meniscus tears occur 2.5 times more frequently in men than women, although disorders of the lateral meniscus occur more often in women. The peak incidence of meniscus tears is 31 to 40 years of age in males and 11 to 20 years in females. A second peak of meniscus tears caused by age-related degeneration occurs in people over age 60.

For employees who miss work because of meniscus tears, the median MDGuidelines return-to-work duration is 37 days, but this can vary widely depending on treatment and other case management factors.

Want to know more? Read more about this common workplace injury and see typical disability durations and other physician-reviewed information at


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