View Full Version : Bucket-handle tear of the lateral meniscus

02-18-2012, 01:45
I have a medical question regarding my eligibility for Army Special Forces. In September of 2008 I sustained a bucket-handle tear of the lateral meniscus in my left knee playing high school football. There was no damage to my ACL or anything else though. A couple weeks later I had successful arthroscopic knee surgery to repair the meniscus. After rehab and everything I was able to play lacrosse that spring without issue. Since then, I have continued to play sports competitively and I work out regularly. I still play lacrosse and run almost every day. I have not had any issues with the knee. However, I am concerned with my eligibility for the Army, and specifically Special Forces. Will this past-injury disqualify me from joining Special Forces? I figured I’d ask the QPs before I ask a recruiter.

02-18-2012, 07:28
This information is taken from AR 40-501, Standards of Medical Fitness (latest edition).

Chapter two, concerning initial entry and the reference to all other chapters (under SF physical it will say, reference chapter 2-9 etc...)

c. Leg, knee, thigh, and hip.
(1) Current loose or foreign body within the knee joint (717.6) is disqualifying.
(2) History of uncorrected anterior (717.83) or posterior (717.84) cruciate ligament injury is disqualifying. History of surgical correction of knee ligaments is disqualifying only if symptomatic or unstable (P81.4).
(3) Current symptomatic medial and lateral collateral ligament injury is disqualifying. (4) Current symptomatic medial and lateral meniscal injury is disqualifying.
(5) Current unspecified internal derangement of the knee (717.9) is disqualifying.

Chapter five, concerning initial entry into Special Forces.

f. Extremities.
(1) Paragraphs 2–9 through 2–11.
(2) Less than full strength and range of motion of all joints.
(3) Loss of any digit from either hand.
(4) Deformity or pain from an old fracture.
(5) Instability of any degree of major joints.
(6) Poor grasping power in either hand.
(7) Locking of a knee joint at any time.
(8) Pain in a weight–bearing joint.
(9) Retained hardware that is integral to maintaining fixation or stability, or presents a risk to mobility or a risk of further injury by its presence.

Based off the AR, if you have no range of motion issues, no function issues, and no ongoing injury you will be good to go.

Disclose the previous injury on the 2807, discuss it with your health care provider, and drive on.

Just an FYI,
The standards for retention are different than initial entry, which is important to realize. Retention standards are, for the most part, not as rigid, for example: you have to have a spleen for initial entry but, you don't need a spleen for retention. Your recruiter and your health care provider will know this or a least look it up. The issue may come if you are talking with someone who is confusing the two, usually an uninformed outsider who didn't make it or was never there, claiming to be a SME, just giving out "good advice".

If you are ever in doubt, look at AR 40-501.

Hope the information helps,

02-18-2012, 07:43
How about you follow the instructions you received when you signed up here, post your intro, use the search button, read the AR that is referenced in the medical thread, and THEN ask your question?

STFESTA was kind enough to do your legwork and provide you with some stand-up info.
Consider yourself fortunate that he did that before I saw this thread and locked it.


The Reaper
02-18-2012, 10:10
From the SFAS sticky thread cleverly titled: "Welcome! Please Read!"


Directions to read AR 40-501 before asking medical eligibility questions. What a novel idea!

Please read all of the stickies before asking questions or starting new threads!