Anatomy and Biomechanics of the Meniscus
Successful treatment of the injured knee depends on a fundamental understanding of the anatomy and biomechanical function of the joint (Goldblatt et al 2003).
The medial and lateral meniscus compartments of the knee each have an intervening meniscus located between the femur and tibia. The medial meniscus is semicircular and approximately 3.5 cm in length. The lateral meniscus is almost circular in gross morphology, and covers a larger portion of the tibial plateau than the medial meniscus (Goldblatt et al 2003).
The capacity of the meniscus to heal is limited, particularly the central portions, which are largely avascular. However the peripheral or outer rim of the meniscus is vascular and because of this healing is largely complete in 10 weeks. The vascular anatomy of the meniscus is supplied by way of the superior and inferior medial and lateral geniculate arteries. The outer rim of the meniscus is vascular up to 30% of its width on the medial side and 25% on the lateral side (Boyd et al 2002).
The meniscus act as shock absorbers within the knee joint.They also assists in lubrication of the joint and increases its elasticity. The medial meniscus is much less mobile than the lateral meniscus, accounting for its higher rate of injury. (Johnston 2000, Katz et al 2009).