A study in Switzerland documented 17,397 patients with 19,530 sports injuries over a 10-year period: 37% of the patients had 7769 injuries (39.8%) related to the knee joint, 10.8% had medial meniscus lesion, and 3.7% had lateral meniscus lesion. The medial meniscus injury was associated with tennis and jogging and lateral meniscus with gymnastics and dancing. 
Meniscal tear is associated with cartilage defect, loss of cartilage volume, alteration in bone size, and prevalence of radiographical osteoarthritis, suggesting that meniscal tear in non-osteoarthritic people appears to be an early event in the disease process, and may be a risk factor for knee cartilage damage and articular structural changes. 
The epidemiology of knee and ankle injuries on Macquarie Island, Australia was reviewed. A 10-year retrospective analysis of all knee and ankle injuries recorded in the medical log was undertaken. Meniscal tears contributed to 11% of the recorded injuries. 
The incidence of meniscal tears related to the timing from injury to surgery (reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament) was reviewed in a UK study. There was a significantly higher incidence of meniscal tears in patients undergoing reconstruction after 12 months (71.2%) than in those in the early group (surgery within 12 months of injury) (41.7%). 
Meniscal tears are responsible for 750,000 arthroscopies per year in the US and are the most common soft tissue injury to the knee joint.  Traumatic meniscal tears most commonly occur in young, active people during twisting sports such as football and basketball. Degenerative tears commonly occur in patients with osteoarthritis, although the exact incidence and prevalence are not known.