Knee Meniscus

The knee meniscus is a special layer of cartilage that lines the knee joint.  As in every joint, there is also articular cartilage, but due to the huge forces that go through the knee, it needs something extra.

The knee menisci are two portions of thick, rubbery tissue that line the joint. They sit on the top surface of the tibia (shin bone) in 2 crescent shaped parts, the medial meniscus (on the inner side) and the lateral meniscus (on the outer side). The medial side is the larger of the two.

Here we will look at the role of the knee cartilage, how it gets injured and what we can do to keep it healthy.

What Does It Do?

Knee cartilage lines the femur and tibia allowing the knee to move smoothly and painlessly.

The knee mensicus is really important as it:

1) Helps the tibia and femur to fit better to each other (increases surface area contact by 40-60%), making the joint more stable
2) Provides a smooth surface between the femur and tibia, preventing bone rubbing on bone
3) Helps ensure correct weight distribution between the tibia and femur
4) Act as shock absorbers/cushions reducing the force going through the knee bones
5) Contains nerves which help improve balance and stability

How Does It Get Injured?

There are two ways that the knee meniscus gets damaged:

Different types of knee meniscus injuries.

1) Injury: The menisci are often injured when the knee twists suddenly eg when playing sports or during a fall. This tends to tear part of the cartilage and can cause bleeding in the joint resulting in swelling

2) Wear and Tear: As we age, our cartilage becomes more brittle and can start to wear away. This also makes them more prone to injury. This is a common feature of arthritis

Meniscal tears can occur in any part of the cartilage and can take a long time to recover from.  Small blood vessels feed the outer edges of the meniscus but the middle parts have no direct supply which means it is very slow to heal following injury. To find out more about knee cartilage injuries, visit the meniscal tear section.

How Can I Look After My Knees?

We are all born with different quality knee cartilage which we can’t change, but we can help keep it healthy by ensuring that the muscles around the knee are strong so that less force goes through the knee meniscus. The best way to do this is by doing knee strengthening exercises.

Go to Anatomy Guide or Homepage


Your Comments

Share your knee pain experiences with others, whether it be ideas, top tips, things that worked well for you, problems you've had etc.......



© knee-pain-explained.com 2010-2014.
Updated 12th March 2014
All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions apply

Protected by Copyscape Online Copyright Search


KneePainExp

See Also

Anatomy overview

Knee Cartilage Injuries

How can I strengthen my leg?

Test your flexibility - would stretching help you?



Search This Site


Visitor Comments

“This is one of the best self-help & info sites of any medical condition I've ever seen. Excellent work.” Amy, UK

“Thanks to KPE.com. Lots of improvement after just two days.” Suresh, India

"This is the best self-help site I have ever seen for knee pain. It is very difficult to find such a comprehensive volume of information on one site without being advised to "Just purchase this product!" Many, many thanks" Jennifer, US

"Superb site, many thanks, so much helpful content especially the targeted strengthening exercises for me.” Gerri, UK

“Thank you so much, your response makes so much sense. Thank you again for your time in answering my questions.” Cynthia, US

"Your website is a gold mine, thank you very much."
Gavril, Denmark

"I LOVE your website. Out of all the others, yours is so informational and easy to read." Michelle, US

"This is the best site dealing with knee problems that I have come across. I will be putting the stretches and exercises into practise. Thank you!"
Margaret, S. Africa