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Medial meniscus

The medial meniscus is the central band of cartilage attached to the tibia, or shinbone. The band goes around the knee joint in a crescent-shaped path and is located between the medial condyles of the shin and the femur, or thighbone. The medial condyles are areas of these bones located on the inner sides of the knees.

The medial meniscus is often injured when the knee is twisted or sprained with sudden force. It is less mobile than the lateral meniscus because it is firmly attached to the tibial collateral ligament. External rotation (rotating the knee outward) puts the most strain on the meniscus, while inward (internal) rotation is the least strenuous.

The most common medial meniscus injury is tearing. Intense swelling and pain is expected during the first 24 hours following this injury. Symptoms of a torn medial meniscus include being unable to extend the leg, feeling best when the knee is bent, developing gradual pain after stressing the knees, and swelling in the knee region. The medial meniscus may need to be surgically repaired if the tear is above Grade 2 (on a 1 to 4 scale). Common surgery types include arthroscopic repair, partial meniscectomy, and total meniscectomy. Arthroscopic repair is a form of minimally invasive joint surgery. Partial meniscectomy involves a partial removal of the meniscus, as opposed to the full removal that occurs during total meniscectomy.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Medial meniscus

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