A bucket-handle tear is a special kind of displaced circumferential tear of the meniscus, where the free bit flips over like the handle of a bucket.

bucket-handle tear of the meniscus
bucket handle
locked bucket handle tear


Management of a locked bucket-handle tear

A patient may find that the displaced portion flips back on its own, with immediate relief of locking - but it may recur, and each episode may cause the tear to extend. The best route is for the surgeon to flip the torn bit back and suture it in position until it heals.


Natural history of the 'bucket-handle'

The circumferential (longitudinal) tear pre-dates the locking, but with each episode the tear may extend and flip over more easily. Eventually the 'handle' may break and the loose end may flap in the joint and eventually break off altogether to float in the joint as a 'loose body'.



How the surgeon decides on management.

Types of meniscus tear

Illustrations of the types of tear one might see in the meniscus.



Knee surgeon Kirti Moholkar discusses "Is a bucket-handle tear of the meniscus a surgical emergency?"

Orthopaedic surgeon and knee specialist Kirti Moholkar discusses the issues of a bucket-handle tear of the meniscus.

*Please note that this is a replay of a live event. Questions were asked and answered during the original event, but there is no live moderator during this replay.



Arthroscopic Inside-Out Repair of a Meniscus Bucket-Handle Tear Augmented With Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate. Muckenhirn KJ, Kruckeberg BM, Cinque ME, Chahla J, DePhillipo NN,mGodin JA and LaPrade RF. Arthrosc Tech. 2017 Aug; 6(4): e1221–e1227.


Arthroscopy showing surgeon using a probe to try to reduce a locked bucket-handle.

See also -

eBook about meniscus injury

eBook - Knee Meniscus Injury

This ebook discusses the various types of meniscus injuries and their consequences.