What is a Meniscus?

Meniscus Injuries

Injuries to the meniscus in the knee are very common. Operations on meniscal injuries are the most common orthopedic surgery performed in this country.

If you have knee pain and were told you had an injury to your meniscus, the first thing you probably asked yourself is; what is a meniscus?

What a Meniscus Is

Your knee is a basically a hinge type joint. In reality it moves in many more directions then just in one plane around a single center of rotation like a mechanical hinge.

The knee joint is made up primarily of the contact between the two largest bones in your leg the tibia and the femur. The meniscus lives at this contact point.

The area of the tibia that contacts the femur is flat. In fact due to its flatness it is called the tibial plateau. The femur at this contact point is round, allowing the hinge movement of the joint.

The Meniscus is attached to the flat portion of the tibia and is a circular disk that allows the round femur to contact the flat tibia in an even manner.

What a Meniscus Does

Your Meniscus acts to dissipate the force between the femur and the tibia.

It acts like a shock absorber between the two bones.

Parts of the meniscus have a good blood supply and parts do not. The very edge of the meniscus has almost no direct blood supply, which is why when it tears it can’t heal.

If you have knee pain and think you may have injured your meniscus make an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon.


Dr. Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. He is the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Westchester Sport and Spine and has subspecialty training in knee and shoulder surgery, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Weinstein is a Board Examiner for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, determining certification for other orthopedic surgeons.