A medial meniscus tear is a tear of the substance of the shock-absorbing medial meniscus, which is sandwiched between the femur and tibia bones in the knee.

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

meniscus at arthroscopy
longitudinal meniscus tear

Illustration of a longitudinal meniscal tear. Tears may also be radial, oblique or horizontal.


Why are medial meniscus tears more common than lateral ones?

both menisci from above

The two menisci are different shapes, with the medial meniscus being more C-shaped than the O-shaped lateral meniscus. The medial meniscus is less mobile, and has fibrous bands tethering it to the outer rim. This lack of mobility makes it vulnerable to twisting forces when that leg is on the ground and the upper body is twisting.

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Can a torn medial meniscus repair itself?

The blood supply to the medial meniscus comes in from the outer edges. So a tear near the outer edge may heal on its own. However, the inner rim has little or no blood supply and tears here heal less readily.

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What is a meniscal repair?

The surgeon may repair a medial meniscus tear with bio-absorbable sutures or fixation devices. Because of the importance of the meniscus, this may be attempted even if the likelihood of success is not that good. If the surgeon is sure that healing is unlikely, he/she may trim off the torn part but preserve as much of the meniscus as is feasible.

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Forum discussions

  • "Meniscus"

    The meniscus board of the forum. Packed with posts.

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Peer-reviewed papers

  • Quote:

    "When possible, meniscal repair should be performed to try to maintain meniscal integrity and prevent long-term degenerative changes that occur after meniscectomy. When meniscal repair is not possible, partial meniscectomy can be considered saving as much viable meniscal tissue as possible."

    Citation: Maffulli N, Longo UG, Campi S, Denaro V. Meniscal tears. Open Access J Sports Med. 2010 Apr 26;1:45-54. doi: 10.2147/oajsm.s7753. PMID: 24198542; PMCID: PMC3781854.

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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...


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