Meniscus tear


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Meniscus tear

Musculoskeletal system

Pediatric musculoskeletal conditions

Radial head subluxation (Nursemaid elbow)

Developmental dysplasia of the hip

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis

Transient synovitis

Osgood-Schlatter disease (traction apophysitis)

Musculoskeletal injuries and trauma

Rotator cuff tear

Dislocated shoulder

Radial head subluxation (Nursemaid elbow)

Winged scapula

Thoracic outlet syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Ulnar claw

Erb-Duchenne palsy

Klumpke paralysis

Iliotibial band syndrome

Unhappy triad

Anterior cruciate ligament injury

Patellar tendon rupture

Meniscus tear

Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Sprained ankle

Achilles tendon rupture



Degenerative disc disease

Spinal disc herniation


Compartment syndrome


Bone disorders

Osteogenesis imperfecta


Pectus excavatum


Genu valgum

Genu varum

Pigeon toe

Flat feet

Club foot

Cleidocranial dysplasia



Bone tumors




Osteomalacia and rickets


Paget disease of bone


Lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis

Joint disorders



Spinal stenosis

Rheumatoid arthritis

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis


Calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (pseudogout)

Psoriatic arthritis

Ankylosing spondylitis

Reactive arthritis


Septic arthritis


Baker cyst

Muscular disorders

Muscular dystrophy



Inclusion body myopathy

Polymyalgia rheumatica



Neuromuscular junction disorders

Myasthenia gravis

Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome

Other autoimmune disorders

Sjogren syndrome

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Mixed connective tissue disease

Antiphospholipid syndrome

Raynaud phenomenon


Limited systemic sclerosis (CREST syndrome)

Musculoskeletal system pathology review

Back pain: Pathology review

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis: Pathology review

Seronegative and septic arthritis: Pathology review

Gout and pseudogout: Pathology review

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): Pathology review

Scleroderma: Pathology review

Sjogren syndrome: Pathology review

Bone disorders: Pathology review

Bone tumors: Pathology review

Myalgias and myositis: Pathology review

Neuromuscular junction disorders: Pathology review

Muscular dystrophies and mitochondrial myopathies: Pathology review


Meniscus tear


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Meniscus tear

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External Links


Content Reviewers

Yifan Xiao, MD


David G. Walker

Evan Debevec-McKenney

Zachary Kevorkian, MSMI

The menisci are crescent-shaped fibrocartilage cushions found in the knee joint.

Normally, there’s the medial and lateral menisci between the femur and the tibia.

So, a meniscus tear, more commonly known as torn knee cartilage, is when one of the menisci of the knee is torn.

This usually occurs due to trauma during contact sports.

The knee is a complex joint, actually it’s a combination of three joints.

These are the femoropatellar joint, between the femur and patella, and the two tibiofemoral joints which are formed by the bony prominences, also called the condyles of the tibia and the femur.

Between the femoral and tibial condyles, there’re the medial and lateral menisci.

The menisci act to absorb compressive force, which can reach up to three times the body weight while walking!

In addition, the menisci have a cup-shaped surface which provides a deeper place for the condyles to fit in improving joint’s stability.

Next, the knee joint is supported by a number of ligaments.

So, within the joint space, there's the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, which runs from the anterior middle edge of the tibia to the lateral condyle of the femur, and the posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL, that runs from the middle posterior edge of the tibia to the medial condyle of the femur.

Now, outside the joint space, we’ve got one collateral ligament between the femur and the tibia on each side of the joint, which are the lateral collateral ligament, or LCL, and the medial collateral ligament, or MCL.

The MCL is firmly attached to the medial meniscus, which makes it less mobile compared to the lateral meniscus.


Meniscus tear is when one or both of the menisci of the knee joint are torn. Acute tears usually occur in athletes during contact sports, when the menisci are violently compressed. Chronic tears can also occur, often in older people due to wear and tear changes of menisci. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness, and the diagnosis is mainly based on clinical symptoms, physical exam with an MRI for confirmation. Treatment can be conservative, or by open or arthroscopic surgery.


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  2. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine" McGraw Hill Education/ Medical (2018)
  3. "Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine 8E" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  4. "CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2020" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2019)
  5. "Meniscal Injuries in the Young, Athletically Active Patient" The Physician and Sportsmedicine (2011)
  6. "Risk Factors for Meniscal Tears: A Systematic Review Including Meta-analysis" Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (2013)
  7. "The menisci: basic science and advances in treatment" British Journal of Sports Medicine (2000)

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