Damage to the meniscus in the knee joint may lead to osteoarthritis in middle-age and elderly patients.

As reported in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, Dr. Englund, from Boston University School of Medicine and Lund University Hospital in Sweden, and colleagues investigated the link between meniscal damage and the development of osteoarthritis over 30 months in almost 450 people between the ages of 50 and 79. 

Individuals with minor meniscal tear were 3 times more likely than those with no meniscal damage to develop knee osteoarthritis, the authors report. For people with more severe meniscal damage, the risk was 8 times greater.

The results strongly suggest that meniscal tear “is a potent structural risk factor” for the development of osteoarthritis, the investigators conclude.