Knee menisci

Dr Yuranga Weerakkody and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The knee menisci are fibrocartilaginous structures that sit within the knee joint, deepening the tibiofemoral articulation. They function to improve stability, shock absorption and load transmission of the knee.

There are two knee menisci in each joint: medial and lateral. The menisci are described as having a central body with anterior and posterior horns. In cross-section, they have a triangular (bow-tie) shape, being thicker peripherally and thinning to a free-edge centrally. Each meniscus has a differing shape, size and attachments:

  • medial meniscus
    • C-shape or semilunar
    • larger
    • more open and wider; semi-circular in shape
  • lateral meniscus
    • semicircular-like an incomplete circle, i.e. anterior and posterior tibial roots are very close to each other
    • smaller
  • outer one-third: supply from the peripheral meniscal plexus, in turn formed from the medial, lateral and middle genicular arteries 6, 8
  • inner two-thirds: no vascular supply; diffusion dependent 6
  • posterior articular branch of the tibial nerve and terminal obturator and femoral nerve branches 8
Lower limb anatomy
Share article

Article information

rID: 26810
Section: Anatomy
Tag: knee
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Medial meniscus
  • Menisci
  • Meniscus
  • Lateral meniscus
  • Knee meniscus
  • Menisci

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Menisci
    Figure 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Figure 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Figure 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Figure 4: ultrastructure
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.
    Loadinganimation

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.