Function of the normal meniscus and consequences of meniscal resection

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 1999 Jun;9(3):134-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.1999.tb00443.x.


The principal functions of the meniscus are load transmission and shock absorption, based on the meniscal collagen architecture, the biochemical fluid composition, and the proteoglucan-collagen meshwork. The mobile menisci transmit 50-90% of load over the knee joint, depending on knee flexion angle, femoral translation and rotation. The meniscus contributes to knee joint proprioception and probably also to joint stability. Late consequences of total and partial meniscectomy are radiographic osteoarthritis, with a varying percentage of these patients having symptoms. Malalignment, concomitant articular cartilage lesions, and ligament instability are absolute risk factors, while age, lateral compartment, and continued sport activity are relative risk factors. Acute reinsertion of meniscal tears in the red-red or red-white zones can be performed successfully by arthroscopic technique. Also in chronic tears stable healing can be expected in most cases, if the scar tissue is resected.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Menisci, Tibial / blood supply
  • Menisci, Tibial / cytology
  • Menisci, Tibial / physiology*
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Proprioception
  • Rupture
  • Treatment Outcome