The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of tough, rubbery cartilage that is located in the knee joints between the femur and tibia bones (thighbone and shinbone). The meniscus acts as a shock absorber to cushion the lower part of the leg from the weight of the rest of the body during activities that cause impact to the knee, including standing, walking, running, jumping and other daily tasks. As a shock absorber, the meniscus helps absorb the pressure exerted on the knee joint. It also provides stability and helps distribute body weight by keeping the bones from rubbing together.
Since the meniscus is a relatively avascular structure with a limited peripheral blood supply, if a torn meniscus happens, the poor blood supply to the inner portion of the meniscus makes it difficult for the meniscus to heal. As a result, meniscus tear leads to inability to fully move the affected knee with persistent knee pain. If left untreated, it eventually causes osteoarthritis of the knee.
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