Knee menisci

Dr Amir Rezaee and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The knee menisci are fibrocartilaginous structures that sit within the knee joint, deepening the tibiofemoral articulation. Their main role is shock absorption, improve stability of the knee joint, and load transmission. They also play important role in synovial fluid dynamic circulation and also considered by some to be involved in proprioception. 

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
Anatomy: Lower limb
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Article information

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

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  • Figure 4: ultrastructure
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