What is a Meniscus?


DEFINITION – What does Meniscus mean?

The meniscus (plural: menisci) is a c-shaped disc that acts as a cushion at the knee joint. Each individual knee joint has 2 menisci, a lateral meniscus and a medial meniscus. 


Generally speaking, the knee isn’t exactly the only part of the body that has mensci. The wrist, clavicular, and jaw joints also have menisci. However, you’ll frequently hear about the menisci in the knee. These menisci are more susceptible to injury due to the vast range of motion and weight bearing activities the knees undergo. 

Essentially, these two structures act as pads at the knee joint. They prevent friction and disperse the body weight, so that not one point in the knee is overloaded. They are concave structures which attach at the tibia between the two condyles, round prominences at the end of a given bone. 

A meniscus injury often occurs from a quick turning or twisting motion at the knee. It results in swelling, pain, and stiffness. You may further have trouble moving your knee joint when the meniscus has been injured. Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery may be necessary. Although physical therapy is often a go-to in meniscus injuries and before surgery is considered.  

As you age, the meniscus experiences decreased blood flow. Consequently, an injury to the meniscus later in life may take longer to heal.  

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