, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 1716-1721
Date: 06 Apr 2011

Landing adaptations following isolated lateral meniscectomy in athletes

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Objective functional outcomes following isolated radial lateral meniscus tears in the athlete between the ages of 14–25 are not clearly defined. The objective of this study was to determine whether patients following lateral meniscectomy demonstrate lower extremity asymmetries relative to control athletes 3 months after surgery. We hypothesized that following lateral meniscectomy, athletes aged 14–25 years old would demonstrate altered landing biomechanics compared to sex, age, height, weight, and sport-matched controls.


A total of 18 subjects were included in this study. Nine patients (7 men and 2 women, 20.1 ± 2.8 years) who had undergone first-time isolated radial lateral meniscus tears were tested 3 months following partial lateral meniscectomies and compared to nine sex, age, height, weight, and sport-matched controls (7 men and 2 women, 19.7 ± 3.1 years). A ten-camera motion analysis system and two force platforms were used to collect three trials of bilateral drop landings. A 2X2 ANOVA was used to test the interaction between side (involved vs. uninvolved) and group (patient vs. control).


The patient group landed with a decreased internal knee extensor moment compared to the uninvolved side and controls (interaction P < 0.05). The involved limb quadriceps isokinetic torque was not decreased compared to the contralateral or control (n.s.). Decreased knee extensor moments were significantly associated with reduced measures of function (IKDC scores: r = 0.69; P < 0.05).


Athletes who return to sport at approximately 3 months following a partial lateral meniscectomy may employ compensation strategies during landing as evidenced by reduced quadriceps recruitment and functional outcome scores. Clinicians should focus on improving quadriceps function during landing on the involved leg in an attempt to decrease residual limb asymmetries.

Level of evidence

Case–control study, Level III.