What is a discoid meniscus, and what does it mean for a young athlete? Does the athlete need surgery? Can she play sports? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I answer those questions for an Australian reader worried about her daughter.

Mary in Brisbane asks:
My 9-year-old daughter recently sprained her knee running on an uneven grass track with sprint spikes. The next day her knee was a bit swollen. I took her to physiotherapy, concerned about possible meniscus damage. We had an MRI done, and it was revealed that she had a discoid lateral meniscus but no evidence it was torn. The medial meniscus is intact. The ligaments are intact. The popliteus tendon is normal. There is no defect or irregularity of articular cartilage and no abnormal bony signal. What does this mean? Can my daughter resume sprints, jumps and throws after the swelling and the pain go away? Should she consider a different sport? What action in athletics would increase the risk of tearing the discoid lateral meniscus and should that be avoided so she can continue?

A discoid meniscus is a meniscus with a slightly different anatomy than the typical C-shaped anatomy that most people have. It is thought that around 5% of the population has this type of meniscus in the knee. Essentially the meniscus is more block-shaped, as the inner part of the meniscus never resorbed into the more common C-shape.

In this video, I explain whether having a discoid meniscus itself is a problem and what someone with that problem could do. I also discuss when surgery can be needed for a discoid meniscus and what that surgery entails.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – Do you need surgery for a meniscus tear?
Ask Dr. Geier – Should I get an x-ray or MRI?

Illustration of knee anatomy, showing the meniscus

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