A floating meniscus is a condition where the knee meniscus has come away from its normal attachment to the tibia and is 'floating' rather than fixed. Also called a 'meniscal avulsion'.
Page updated October 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)
(IMAGE: left: intact attachment, right: avulsed).
What causes meniscal avulsion?
A meniscal avulsion may be the result of a twisting injury or of degeneration from an earlier problem within the body of the meniscus.
The meniscus itself is not torn
The MRI scan shows a fluid gap between the bottom of the meniscus and the tibia bone. Generally, the meniscus itself remains intact, but without this anchorage the meniscus eventually becomes incompetent as a shock absorber and arthritis may ensue if the situation is not surgically remedied.
Citation: Bikkina RS, Tujo CA, Schraner AB, Major NM. The "floating" meniscus: MRI in knee trauma and implications for surgery. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2005 Jan;184(1):200-4. doi: 10.2214/ajr.184.1.01840200. PMID: 15615974.
"The presence of a floating meniscus on MRI is a result of significant trauma to the knee leading to meniscal avulsion and is often associated with significant ligamentous injury."
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