A meniscal avulsion is any condition that results in the meniscus no longer being firmly anchored to the tibia.

menisco-tibial avulsion or floating meniscus
An avulsion of the menisco-tibial ligament results in an incompetent 'floating' meniscus. The injury is generally associated with other ligamentous damage in the knee, although the meniscus itself is usually intact.


Meniscus incompetence after meniscotibial ligament avulsion

The condition is called a floating meniscus where the MRI scan shows a fluid gap between the bottom of the meniscus and the tibia bone, due to high-force traumatic detachment of the menisco-tibial (or coronary) ligaments that are a normal part of the anchorage system for the meniscus. Generally, the meniscus itself remains intact, but without this anchorage the meniscus becomes incompetent as a shock absorber.


Meniscus incompetence after meniscal root avulsion

Avulsion of the meniscal root can lead to immediate incompetence, and the meniscus may extrude over the edge of the tibia.

Meniscus avulsion
Floating knee meniscus
Floating meniscus

An explanation of what it means to have a 'floating' knee meniscus on MRI imaging.



The “Floating” Meniscus: MRI in Knee Trauma and Implications for Surgery. Bikkina RS, Tujo CA, Schraner AB and Major NM. American Journal of Roentgenology, January 2005, Volume 184, Number 1.

Avulsion of both posterior meniscal roots associated with acute rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament Mariani PP, Iannella G, Cerullo G and Giacobbe M. J Orthop Traumatol. 2015 Sep; 16(3): 259–262.

Biomechanical Consequences of Lateral Meniscal Posterior Root Avulsions. Geeslin AG, Civitarese DM, Turnbull TL, Dornan G, Fuso F and LaPrade RF. Orthop J Sports Med. 2015 Jul; 3(7 suppl2): 2325967115S00111.

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