Degenerative meniscus tear at 32??

Cora

New User
I’ve been diagnosed with a complex medial meniscus tear a month ago and my insurance company claims it’s a degenerative tear, meaning they cover less of the treatment cost.

I’m 34 now and the symptoms started about 2 years ago after a sudden stop and change of direction while playing tennis. Given the age (32 at the time) and this incident, I suspect it’s a traumatic tear.

Anyone here diagnosed with a degenerative tear in their early 30s? Is this common?


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Gyswandir

Semi-Pro
If you’ve been playing tennis since you were a kid, or any other sport that involves loading your knees and changing direction (ex: squash), then it is quite common to have a meniscus tear by your 30s. The important question is whether it hurts.

I have a meniscus tear in my right knee that is confirmed by MRI since 2010, but I chose not to do anything about it coz it doesn’t cause me any problems. However, i had an operation in my left knee, because I suddenly got an extremely painful tear in that meniscus, which ironically started to hurt after picking up golf :laughing:
The doctor told me it must have already been there and got worse. So, degeneration was there due to lots of activities throughout life.
 

Cora

New User
That’s the thing. I only started playing tennis at 31 and till then I haven’t practiced any sport on a consistent regular basis. And no jogging also.

The tear is symptomatic but I can handle the discomfort as long as it stays at this level.


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SteveI

Legend
That’s the thing. I only started playing tennis at 31 and till then I haven’t practiced any sport on a consistent regular basis. And no jogging also.

The tear is symptomatic but I can handle the discomfort as long as it stays at this level.


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Lots of folks are walking around and playing sports with a tear. My knees had major swelling and pain walking. Mine in both knees was just old age and wear and then a tear. I had no incident in both of my knees. Every case is really different... all sorts of factors are involved.. in treatment plans. Mine were to say.. no brainers. I needed a repair. Lost of folks have a minor tear that is still getting blood flow to tear and it can heal.. PT works for some.. etc. If I was going to start over playing tennis and I was 15 years old.. I would get a big serve.. major weapons of the ground and play all court tennis. NO long points. Finish points in close to net. Win or lose the point..
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
If by "degenerative tear" you mean there's underlying degeneration, i.e. arthritis, in the joint, then it is not common at your age but by no means rare. Your insurance company may be less willing to pay for meniscus surgery because the orthopedic studies I've seen indicate that such surgery in the presence of arthritis in the knee accomplishes basically nothing.
 

clutch21

Rookie
I'm a radiologist. A meniscal tear by definition is traumatic. Degeneration of the meniscus can predispose to tearing, however I find it highly unlikely that you had preceding degeneration of the meniscus at your age. And based on the MR still shot you provided, I don't see signal abnormality that indicates meniscal degeneration, just the complex tear that was diagnosed. It is possible that you have some early osteoarthritis/degenerative change (i.e. cartilage loss, osteophytes) if you've been playing on that tear for a few years. I'd look on the MR report and see if the radiologist described any other findings regarding the meniscus or bone/cartilage. Otherwise, the insurance is full of crap and just trying to save some money.
 

Cora

New User
If by "degenerative tear" you mean there's underlying degeneration, i.e. arthritis, in the joint, then it is not common at your age but by no means rare. .
By degenerative they mean caused by overuse and not by an acute injury


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ollinger

G.O.A.T.
I’m 34 now
I find it highly unlikely that you had preceding degeneration of the meniscus at your age.
"patients are typically above the age of 30"
from "Degenerative Meniscus" in World Journal of Orthopedics, 2014

........and some were under the age of 30, in fact. There's nothing terribly unusual about seeing degenerative meniscus changes in a 34 year old.
 
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