Testing & Diagnosis for Meniscus (knee) tears in Children

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Contact the Lower Extremity Program

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At Boston Children's Hospital, we know that the first step to treating your child is forming an accurate, timely diagnosis.

The exam

To diagnose a torn meniscus, your child’s orthopedic specialist will take a medical history and perform a physical exam on your child. The doctor will check for pain along the joint line, where the meniscus lies. He or she will conduct what’s called the McMurray Test, in which the knee is bent, then straightened and rotated. The tension on a torn meniscus from this manipulation will cause a clicking sound.

The tests

To confirm the diagnosis with detailed images of the injury, the doctor may also use:

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio frequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body
  • arthroscopy: a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that inserts a small camera into the joint for the doctor to inspect

If you live far from Boston, we can help

As an international pediatric orthopedics center, Children’s treats young patients from all over the world. Our International Center assists families residing outside the United States: We facilitate the medical review of patient records; coordinate appointment scheduling; and help families with customs and immigration, transportation, hotel and housing accommodations. 

Our Orthopedic Clinical Effectiveness Research Center (CERC)

The Orthopedic Clinical Effectiveness Research Center (CERC) was established by Children’s Orthopedic Center to improve the quality of life for children with musculoskeletal disorders. This collaborative clinical research program is unique in the nation and is playing an instrumental role in establishing, for the first time, evidence-based standards of care for pediatric orthopedic patients throughout the world. 

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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