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Sports Health. 2011 Jan;3(1):82-8.

Extra-articular Mimickers of Lateral Meniscal Tears.

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Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.



Lateral meniscus tears are a common entity seen in sports medicine. Although lateral-side knee pain is often the result of a meniscus injury, several extra-articular pathologies share signs and symptoms with a meniscus tear. It is critical for the clinician to be able to identify and understand extra-articular pathologies that can present similar to a lateral meniscus tear.


Data were collected through a thorough review of the literature conducted through a MEDLINE search for all relevant articles between 1980 and February 2010.


Clinical review.


Common extra-articular pathologies that can mimic lateral meniscal tears include iliotibial band syndrome, proximal tibiofibular joint instability, snapping biceps femoris or popliteus tendons, and peroneal nerve compression syndrome or neuritis. The patient history, physical examination features, and radiographic findings can be used to separate these entities from the more common intra-articular knee pathologies.


In treating patients who present with lateral-sided knee pain, clinicians should be able to recognize and treat extra-articular pathologies that can present in a similar fashion as lateral meniscus tears.


differential diagnosis; lateral; meniscus injury

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