Meniscus Form and Function

Clin Sports Med. 2020 Jan;39(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2019.08.007.


The menisci are 2 fibrocartilaginous crescents anchored via bony and ligamentous attachments to surrounding structures. Their biochemical composition and multilayered structure make them ideal for converting compressive forces to tensile forces in addition to improving joint congruity and providing shock absorption to weight bearing. The medial meniscus maintains more attachments at both the horns and the midbody than the lateral meniscus, making it more susceptible to injury. Understanding of the gross anatomy, vascular anatomy, biochemical composition, and microstructure is key to understanding causes of meniscal pathology as well as treatment options for restoring its primary functions.

Keywords: Anatomy; Form; Function; Knee; Load transmission; Meniscus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • Collagen Type II / metabolism
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Menisci, Tibial / anatomy & histology*
  • Menisci, Tibial / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Synovial Fluid / physiology
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / physiopathology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology


  • Collagen Type I
  • Collagen Type II
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Proteoglycans