Both the inside and outside of the knee have a meniscus. The meniscus is a firm, elastic, shock absorber that helps stabilize the knee and is important for normal function of the knee joint. It also provides protection of healthy cartilage in the knee.
A meniscus can become damaged due to sudden trauma. This can occur with turning, twisting, or pivoting activities or sports. It can also occur while bending the knee deeply. Sometimes the meniscus damage occurs more gradually as part of degeneration. This is commonly due to “wear and tear” of the knee and the gradual decline in tissue quality that occurs with aging.
Meniscus damage is most frequently seen between the ages of 15 and 30 or between the ages of 45 and 70.
Damaging or losing part of the meniscus can lead to short-term symptoms related to the meniscus damage and/or longer-term symptoms of arthritis due to the lack of the knee’s normal shock absorber.