QUESTION: What are the possible relationships between meniscal tears and motor vehicle collisions?

ANSWER: A systematic review including a meta-analysis identified a number of risk factors for meniscal tears but motor vehicle collisions were not among them. However, in a moderate- to high-speed frontal impact, foot-pedal or floorboard contact may result in longitudinal impaction on the lower limb, with compressive loads transmitted to the knee. If combined with the rotation of the joint, a meniscal tear could result.

On the other hand, in a rear-end collision, the occupant's foot moves away from the brake pedal or floorboard. The knee is unloaded, with no plausible mechanism of injury to it. Hence, meniscal injuries of the knee are unlikely in rear-end collisions.

The same is probably true with side (T-bone) impact. It is difficult to envision how axial loading...

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