Where is the Meniscus Located and What Does it Look Like?
There are two menisci in your knee; each rests between the thigh bone (mur) and shin bone (tibia). The menisci are made of tough cartilage and conform to the surfaces of the bones upon which they rest. One meniscus is on the inside of your knee; this is the medial meniscus. The other meniscus rests on the outside of your knee, the lateral meniscus.
How Does the Meniscus Work?
The knee joint is very important in allowing people to go about performing almost any activity.
The joint is made up of three bones: the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and the patella (knee cap). The surfaces of these bones within the joint are covered with a layer of cartilage.
This important surface allows the bones to smoothly glide against each other without causing damage to the bone. The meniscus sits between the cartilage surfaces of the bone to distribute weight and to improve the stability of the joint.
What is the Function of the Meniscus?
These meniscus functions to distribute your body weight across the knee joint. Without the meniscus present, the weight of your body would be unevenly applied to the bones in your legs (the femur and tibia). This uneven weight distribution would cause excessive forces in specific areas of bone leading to early arthritis of knee joint. Therefore, the function of the meniscus is critical to the health of your knee.
The meniscus is C-shaped and has a wedged profile. The wedged profile helps maintain the stability of the joint by keeping the rounded femur surface from sliding off the flat tibial surface. The meniscus is nourished by small blood vessels, but the meniscus also has a large area in the center of that has no direct blood supply (avascular). This
presents a problem when there is an injury to the meniscus as the avascular areas tend not to heal. Without the essential nutrients supplied by blood vessels, healing cannot take place.
What are the Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear?
Individuals who experience a meniscus tear usually experience pain and swelling as their primary symptoms.
Another common complaint is joint locking, or the inability to completely straighten the joint.
This is due to a piece of the torn cartilage physically impinging the joint mechanism of the knee.
The most common symptoms of a meniscus tear are:
- Knee pain
- Swelling of the knee
- Tenderness when pressing on the meniscus
- Popping or clicking within the knee
- Limited motion of the knee joint
If you have suffered a meniscus injury due to the careless or reckless actions of another person, you may be entitled to compensation. We encourage you to contact Morici, Longo & Associates to discuss your options with a leading Chicago personal injury attorney.