The previous section on the meniscus from the side will have given you an overview of meniscus anatomy.


Looking down at this schematic representation of the two menisci from above on this right leg the difference in shape between the medial and lateral meniscus can be more clearly appreciated. The medial meniscus is more C-shaped, while the lateral meniscus is more O-shaped. The lateral meniscus is also more mobile as its outer rim is not tethered to the capsule like the medial one is.

The smaller image shows a bit more detail. You can see the tendon of the popliteus muscle running past the back of the lateral meniscus.

menisci from above with transplant

The two chopped-off ligaments in the middle of the flattened top of the tibia are the cruciate ligaments - 'chopped off' because of course the femur bone to which they are normally attached has been removed so that you can see the menisci fully like this.

Although it is a rather low-resolution photo, we have displayed below the illustration a real pair of menisci - taken from a transplant donor and awaiting transplantation. The difference in shape of the two menisci can be appreciated, as well as the wedge-profile of each meniscus. You also get some idea of the relationship of the menisci to the capsule around the joint, but we will go into this in more detail later.

Menisci from above


Meniscal horns and roots

The pointed ends of each meniscus are referred to as the 'horns' of the meniscus. The anterior horns are at the front and the posterior horns are at the back. It is at the horns that the menisci are directly tethered to the tibia bone, via structures called the meniscal roots.meniscal root